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Unmasked: COVID-19, face coverings, and navigating dis/abling spaces and cultures

Thomas, Gareth ORCID: and White, Lauren 2023. Unmasked: COVID-19, face coverings, and navigating dis/abling spaces and cultures. Space and Culture 26 (3) , pp. 296-308. 10.1177/12063312231181521

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, some disabled people have been exempt from wearing a face covering in public spaces. Yet, disabled people have reported being challenged and abused for not wearing one. Drawing on key ideas and tropes from disability studies and the sociology of the everyday, we sketch out the adverse effects and ambiguities caused by the pandemic relating to the use of face coverings, along with how emerging cultural norms and notions of shame are publicly mobilised to police conduct. Touching on themes of access, materiality, in/visibility, and in/exclusion, we conclude that face coverings are simply another artefact through which disabled people are read, judged, and excluded in public life. We also contend that face coverings, and the controversy surrounding their use, are another example of how disabled people have been overlooked, disregarded, and disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 1206-3312
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 14 March 2023
Date of Acceptance: 14 March 2023
Last Modified: 15 Jul 2023 07:57

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