Background Although there is no proof that older people become infected by SARS-CoV-2 more than younger people do (WHO 2020), “[e]xisting literature suggests that age is an important predictor of poor outcomes among patients with COVID-19” (Mills, Kaye, Mody 2020: 1). This leads to older adults (globally agreed upon as people aged 60 years and older, WHO 2018) having converted into an even more vulnerable social group during the 2019- global pandemic. To the physical and psychological fragilities connected with ageing, an entire new set of issues has indeed added itself to their conditions, as the virus impacted on this population harder. One such problematic aspect is the economic disadvantage at which high numbers of seniors have found themselves to be, for instance in the United States of America, “according to estimates from the Elder Index, a county-level measure of the income needed by older adults to meet basic needs” (Li, Mutchler 2020: 478). Nursing homes and long-term care institutions, by definition inhabited by elderly citizens, also contributed to making them subject to early, sudden and repeated outbreaks of the disease (Chen, Chevalier, Long 2021). Yet another demographic datum is that the older population that was either killed or severely affected, at various levels, by COVID-19 was mostly represented by women (Peterman et. al. 2020). Aims and methods Whether female seniors fell victim to the pandemic more than their male counterparts due to force majeure, since women over 60 are a statistically larger group than men (UN 2019), is one of the research questions this study intends to address. Another thesis will be explored, though, according to which “COVID-19 has exacerbated issues that already left older women at a significant disadvantage compared to men” (Zycher 2020). In order to investigate and evaluate the two differing positions, a discursive analysis of information about older females who have been and are being affected by the pandemic will be carried out. The depictions and representations of this specific social group shall be reconstructed and compared against hard data, from a perspective that definitely stems from Critical Discourse Studies (e.g. Wodak, Meyer 2015; Flowerdew, Richardson 2018), but will not hesitate to delve into research from other fields such as economics, sociology, health(care) and medicine, statistics and more, whenever necessary. Studies on ageing and (female) gender (e.g. Ylänne 2012, Anderson 2019) will necessarily also be consulted. Material The relationship between older women and COVID-19 will be explored in English-language a) academic research; b) texts authored, edited, published, distributed or ultimately endorsed by governmental and supra-governmental organisations (the US, the UK and other English-speaking developed countries, the EU, the WHO, etc.); c) mass media news, when reporting data and information stemming from a) and b). Due to the ample variety of text types and genres considered, and to the fact that the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic at the time of writing is far from over, though it has entered the mass vaccination phase in early 2021, the texts for analysis are expected to be collected and thus scrutinised following quality- more than quantity-based criteria. Expected results and relevance The research behind this proposal is currently work-in-progress. Results are expected to contribute, firstly, to ageing studies, at the beginning of the United Nations Decade of Healthy Ageing (2021-2030); secondly, to women-focused studies – a wording suggested as preferable to ‘Women’s Studies’, because it includes not only Women’s Studies as such but also Sex and Gender Medicine (Grego et al. 2020) and socio-economic disciplines when they focus on women. The latter, non-linguistic perspectives will of course be drawn upon only insofar as they prove functional to producing remarks on the discursive constructions and social critique conveyed by language. Methodologically, it is hoped this study may add itself to those contributing to the consolidation of trans-disciplinary approaches, which by today no longer need to be considered innovative and desirable but a necessity, if research is to address increasingly complex phenomena affecting people at a global level and creating and modifying social vulnerabilities at an unprecedented pace worldwide. Select bibliography Anderson, C. 2019. Discourses of Ageing and Gender. The Impact of Public and Private Voices on the Identity of Ageing Women. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Chen, K.M., Chevalier, A.J., Long, E.F. 2021. “Nursing home staff networks and COVID-19”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Jan 2021, 118 (1) e2015455118. Flowerdew, J., Richardson, J.E. 2018 (eds). The Routledge Handbook of Critical Discourse Studies. London and New York: Routledge. Grego, S., Pasotti, E., Moccetti, T., Maggioni, A.P. 2020. “‘Sex and gender medicine’: il principio della medicina di genere”. G Ital Cardiol 2020; 21(8): 602-606. Li, Y., J.E. Mutchler 2020. “Older adults and the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic”. Journal of Aging & Social Policy, 32:4-5, 477-487. Mills, J.P., Kaye, S., Mody, L. 2020. “COVID-19 in older adults: clinical, psychosocial, and public health considerations”. Journal of Clinical Investigation Insight, 5(10): e139292. Peterman, A., Potts, A., O’Donnell, M., Thompson, K., Shah, N., Oertelt-Prigione, S., van Gelder, N. 2020. Pandemics and Violence Against Women and Children. Working paper 528, April 2020. Center for Global Development. UN 2019. Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Population dynamics. “Population by age and sex 2020”. https://population.un.org/. WHO 2018. “Ageing and health”. 5 February 2018. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/ageing-and-health. WHO 2020. “Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: Mythbusters. Older people, younger people”. 23 November 2020. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters?gclid=CjwKCAiAm-2BBhANEiwAe7eyFI6bpBFOHEbuA3HGK2JlxWtn5TYLFTt-hqNXNXRA87z73-gNvVBk5BoC24AQAvD_BwE#older-people. Wodak, R., Meyer, M. (eds) 2015. Methods of Critical Discourse Studies. 3rd ed. London: SAGE. Ylänne, V. (ed.) 2012. Representing Ageing. Images and Identities. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Zycher, A. 2020. “The impact of the pandemic on older women”. Pro Bono Australia. 7 September 2020.
Old, female and COVID-19+: issues of age and gender in the midst of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic / K. Grego. - (2021 Oct 14). ((Intervento presentato al 7. convegno Languaging Diversity 2021. The Linguistic Construction of Emotional Challenges in a Changing Society 13-15 October tenutosi a Lille nel 2021 [10.48448/8405-a729].
|Titolo:||Old, female and COVID-19+: issues of age and gender in the midst of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic|
|Parole Chiave:||ageing, women, COVID-19, medical discourse, institutional discourse, CDS|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore L-LIN/12 - Lingua e Traduzione - Lingua Inglese|
|Data di pubblicazione:||14-ott-2021|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||23 - Pubblicazione su portale|