Gendered leisure in the shadow of the pandemic: The self and the other in symbolic interaction

Shira Chess, Ivanka Pjesivac, & Sun Joo (Grace) Ahn (2023). “Gendered leisure in the shadow of the pandemic: The self and the other in symbolic interaction,” paper to be presented at the 109th annual National Communication Association conference, November 16-19, National Harbor, MD.

Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic affected lives both globally and regionally, often disproportionately affecting women and minorities; family, health, work life, and leisure all changed over a short span of time. This study specifically focuses on one aspect of this equation: leisure. Leisure studies have long demonstrated equity issues regarding how women (particularly mothers) spend their free time. Because leisure can affect both physical and mental health, understanding women’s perception of their pandemic-related leisure practices illuminates the specificities of broader inequities both during and beyond the pandemic. In this qualitative study, we interviewed 30 US-based mothers describing their leisure habits before, during, and in the shadow of the pandemic to shed light on how COVID-19 disrupted and reinforced pre-existing gender-based leisure practices. Using the lens of symbolic interactionism, we posit that its meaning is being co-created in interaction between women and their surroundings during the pandemic. To this end, while leisure might seem to be a point of frivolity, the occurrence and quality of leisure time speaks to broader issues about how COVID-19 resulted in changes to quality of life and mental health issues.

Pandemic Soundstage: Policy and Reality in Hollywood’s Return to Work

Kate Fortmueller (2022). “Pandemic Soundstage: Policy and Reality in Hollywood’s Return to Work” Essential: Global Film and Television Production During the Pandemic. April 9-11. Tulane University. New Orleans, LA.

Abstract: In September 2020 Hollywood blockbusters resumed production, but it was by no means a return to normal. On big union productions, life on set had been altered in accordance with new safety measures as outlined by a task force comprised of the AMPTP, all the unions and guilds, and several health officials in their white paper and a second document, “The Safe Way Forward,” that added additional “organizing principles.” This collaboration between unions and management was unprecedented, marking a shift in how producers, studios and unions dealt with set safety proactively rather than in response to a tragic accident. However, the collaborative effort between those who fund and those who make Hollywood film and television, was just one of the media return-to-work plans. Stakeholders in these plans represented different state and private financial interests. I look at union-endorsed policies and the state guidelines to identify and compare the varied interests are reflected in the policies. Regardless of whether pandemic measures (or on-set consultants) remain long-term, these plans have helped raise new questions about media worker safety.

COVID-19 Vaccination and Public Health Communication Strategies: An In-depth Look at How Demographics, Political Ideology, and News/Information Source Preference Matter

Abstract: Widely accepted public health actions and recommendations, particularly those related to vaccines, are critical to U.S. and global responses to infectious disease pandemics, such as COVID-19. Drawing from nationally published COVID-19 public opinion polls as well as social and behavioral science related to vaccination acceptance, this study used a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults 18 years-old and older, undertaken in November-December 2020, to examine how four key demographic characteristics (sex, age, race/ethnicity, education), political ideology (liberal, moderate, conservative), and news/information source preference (liberal, conservative, balanced) were related to COVID-19 vaccination intentions, COVID-19 risk-benefit perceptions, interest and attention to COVID-19 information, self-reported level of being informed on key COVID-19 items, and trust and use of common COVID-19 information sources. Multiple associations were found, with most having important implications for strategic communication efforts related to COVID-19 vaccination and other preventive health recommendations.

Leading transitions in a traumatically changing working environment: Communication professionals adapt to COVID-19 impacts

Abstract: The paper presents findings from an international survey of communication professionals on change leadership in communication during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the strong impact brought by the pandemic, communication professionals adapt quickly in change management by using COVID-19 information to build knowledge, enhance trust, develop strategies and guide actions.

Assessing COVID-19 pandemic communication in China: What we know about the communication channels, sources of information, and key message retention

Abstract: This research presents the findings from a large-scale national online survey of Chinese citizens (N = 1,713) about their general knowledge of COVID-19 and the key communication channels that they used both during and after the pandemic. The perceived impact of COVID-19, personal safety concern, and information retention during the times of lockdown and post-pandemic were investigated over the four quarters of 2020. Particularly, we asked surveyed Chinese citizens to evaluate the quality of communication via three major categories of media channels (i.e., traditional media, digital media, and user-generated content on social media). Major sources of COVID-19 information and related source credibility were also investigated and compared.

Trusted sources of information, perceived quality in communication, and health knowledge retention: A national study of COVID-19 pandemic in China

Abstract: This research presents the findings from a large-scale national online survey of citizens in Mainland China about the perceived impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, both in the time of lockdown and post-pandemic. The study sheds light on the relationship between the trusted sources of COVID-19 information and the perceived quality in communication by jointly considering their impact on individuals’ knowledge retention of COVID-19 related facts. Results revealed that although individuals in China have relied on several major sources to seek COVID-19 information, the perceived quality of communication in user-generated content on social media remain lowest. Individuals’ knowledge retention on COVID-19 related health communication messages also varied by gender and by age. Implications of these findings for theory and public health practice are also discussed.