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Accepted Paper:

Negotiating Masculinity with Shrinking Livelihoods during COVID-19 in Dhaka's Urban Slums  
Ishrat Jahan (BRAC James P. Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University) Raafat Hassan (BRAC James P. Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University) Israr Hasan (BRAC James P. Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University) Sharin Shajahan Naomi (Asian University for women) Sabina Rashid (BRAC James P Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University)

Paper short abstract:

In wake of COVID-19 and the greater burden of socio-economic uncertainties falling on vulnerable populations, this paper illustrates narratives of men negotiating socially and culturally with their masculinities in the face of shrinking income and livelihood opportunities in Dhaka's urban slums.

Paper long abstract:

The paper illustrates preliminary findings from a qualitative study centered on understanding constructions of masculinities among 30 men in two urban slums, Kallyanpur and Shyampur in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Conducted between February-August 2021, narratives were collected from men employed in a range of occupations - drivers, factory floor workers, paper collectors, scrap dealers, shopkeepers, masons, waiters, imams. Of the 22 men who were employed, 14 reported drop in their income levels, leading to sudden financial crises;coping either through loans from extended families or neighbours, or spending their life savings to buy food and survive on a day-to-day basis. The post-covid income of respondents showed a significant decline and respondents feel their opportunities for livelihoods have shrunk with no signs of recovery (as of the period of study).

Findings argue that the dominant patriarchal notions of masculinity have created less visible, but equally harmful impact on marginalised men's overall well-being during the pandemic that are difficult to recover from.

In a context where manliness is associated with the capacity to provide for families, men's experiences highlight the complex forms of crises for masculine identities. Majority respondents in the study narrated their struggle to conform to the role of the provider, despite limited oppurtunities and the rising need to look for alternatives to managing finances (such as "allowing" their wives to work).

Panel P169a
Long Covid: Future Orientations for Novel Pandemics [Medical Anthropology Europe Network]
  Session 1 Wednesday 27 July, 2022, -