Accepted Paper:

Face-covering among Whitechapel's Muslim Women - a coronavirus ethnographic snapshot  
Gwendolyn Leick (Chelsea College of Art Design)

Paper short abstract:

Investigates the varieties of responses by Muslim women in an East London neighbourhood to the recommendation of face covering in public during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Paper long abstract:

Across the world the Covid-19 pandemic has provoked a number of directives to regulate social behaviour and bodily practices at an unprecedented scale - see the neologism virocene (Phillippopoulos-Mihalopoulos 2020, Fernando 2020). This snapshot ethnography undertaking during October-November 2020 in London's East End documents the responses of local Muslim women to the prescription of wearing 'masks'. Given the polyvalence of meanings assigned to the practice of Islamic veiling in European contexts (Hirschmann, N. 2002; Göle 1996, Lyon and Spini 2004, Dwyer 1999) the pandemic has added new considerations, such as concerns over health and conformity to safety recommendations that either confirm or conflict with embodied practices and create new ambiguities and possibilities for the performance of identity and agency.

Panel P08a
Mask: the Face of Covid-19
  Session 1