CARE OPED: COVID19 – The Time For Communicative Leadership: Lessons from Aotearoa

MOHAN J.DUTTA | 4 APRIL, 2020

New Zealand shows the way


Communicative leadership is anchored in the idea of communication as community, communication as both the primordial source of community, and communication as a resource in manifesting community. Communication forms the infrastructure of community.

Be it in its local manifestation, in its national articulation of a collective identity, or in its global networks in response to crises, community is built on communication.

Communication as communion brings together participants in spaces, creating the basis of shared values, shared meanings, and shared actions. It is through the fundamental work of communication as bridging, as bringing people together, as creating the basis of dialogue, as creating the framework for forming and sustaining relationships that we come to realize communities.

It shouldn’t take a pandemic to make evident the powerful role of communication as constitutive of community, locally, nationally, and globally. Also, it shouldn’t take a pandemic to recognize the urgency of principled communication, one that is anchored in the search for truth, in transparency, in dialogue, and in democracy.

And yet, we are here.

Globally we are in the midst of a pandemic because of communicative failures at multiple layers of leadership across the globe, from authoritarian regimes that worked hard to hide the initial information about the epidemic, to opaque global institutions that are co-opted by the agendas of authoritarian regimes, to neo-fascist political parties that have taken over some of the world’s largest democracies, driven to power by their manipulative campaigns that thrive on hate and division.

The failure of much of global leadership to respond to the pandemic, to develop preventive resources, to create and sustain health infrastructures, and to care for communities is fundamentally the failure of communication.

Donald Trump, Jair Bolsonaro, Narendra Modi, Boris Johnson, globally we are witnessing the implications of communicative failures across nation states. Each of these men have risen to power through the deployment of communication as an instrument of hate.

Trump draws his power from simplistic narratives of the “outsider threat,” which forms the infrastructure of his “Make America Great Again” campaign. It is no surprise then that he finds refuge in the “Chinese virus,” triggering a wide range of anti-Asian incidents of hate in the U.S.

Modi’s popular appeal thrives on the use of hate to prop up an imaginary of a Hindu India, built precisely through the exclusion of its Muslim other. For a political project that was right until the COVID19 outbreak orchestrating the xenophobic exclusion of India’s Muslims through its National Registry of Citizens, it is no surprise that the COVID19 threat would be catalysed to orchestrate Islamophobia.

Driven by the deployment of communication as propaganda, U.S., Brazil, India, and U.K. have witnessed the pitfalls of communicative failure in the backdrop of COVID19. Communication, in its utter ugliness, thrives on circulating propaganda on one hand. On the other hand, it systematically obfuscates the failure in governance, the absence of basic public health and welfare infrastructures, and the abject failure of the state to care for its poor and underclasses.

In the midst of this evident failure in leadership in some of the largest democracies across the globe, it is humbling to witness a model of communicative leadership in Aotearoa New Zealand that is anchored in care, transparent communication, social justice, and democracy.

The face of the New Zealand response is the Prime Minister, a student and adept practitioner of communication as communion.

From the initial days of the sharing of the state’s COVID19 response to the ongoing lockdown that the country is witnessing, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appears on the screen at least once or twice a day. Her daily briefings to the press are fed through a wide range of broadcast and new media. You witness a leader that takes the care to respond to the most difficult of questions, supported by accurate information grounded in scientific knowledge, and sincerely committed to transparency. If there are questions she does not have the information on, she states so openly and with clarity.

Communicative leadership is transparent, this is one of the first lessons we learn from the response in Aotearoa.

Communicative leadership is evident in the clarity and preparation with which the lockdown was implemented in Aotearoa. Each of the different levels of response to COVID19 were explained with clarity, along with the specific behaviors being recommended in each of the levels. The message with the behavioral recommendation was simple and is repeated multiple times across channels. The Minister of Health and the Director General of Health communicated information clearly about the number of cases, the status of the cases, and the steps being taken to “flatten the curve.” A dedicated Government website communicates the information clearly and with daily updates.

In addition to her meetings with the Press, the Prime Minister draws on her highly popular Facebook live platform to participate in conversations. She takes the time to read questions and directly respond to them, often getting online from home in an informal setting.

Her responses are not mediated by public relations teams or crisis consultants.

This is communicative leadership in action, authentic in its dialogic potential. It is this very authenticity that forms the basis of community, a key part of the Prime Minister’s ongoing message to New Zealanders, to do what New Zealanders do best: respond to COVID19 as a community, caring for each other, and taking care of each other.

Care also forms the basis of a strategy that incrementally moved into the lockdown. An initial level 3 alert gave people an opportunity to prepare, before the level 4 lockdown was implemented. During this period, there was ample communication about the evidence driving the decisions, the basis of the decisions, the explanations for the behaviors being recommended, and the support available to enable the behavior.

Care and social justice form the basis of the Labour-led response strategy in Aotearoa. The lockdown has been supported with state-driven financial support for employees, with paid leave support given to organizations to ensure job security. Similarly, policies have targeted rents to be paid during the lockdown. The Minister of Finance often accompanies the Prime Minister in communicating the financial policies being put into place for support. Anchoring these policies in justice ensures that the rights of workers and low-income communities are at the forefront of the conversation.

The strong presence of Māori culture in Aotearoa shapes the state’s response to kaumātua (the aging members of communities) with care, ensuring their wellbeing is placed at the heart of the response. Communities across Aotearoa reflect this communicative leadership in local spaces, responding with mutual aid and support for each other. Communities of care anchored in mutuality hold up communicative leadership.

That robust democracies are integral to COVID19 response means that there ought to be ample room for plural voices, for questions to be raised, and for evidence to be shared based on experiences in communities to shape a climate of dialogue. In our work at the Center for Culture-centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE) in Aotearoa, this opening for ongoing dialogue based on community voice is perhaps one of the strongest elements of communicative leadership. Even as we develop advocacy papers based on questions emerging from communities, we often find that the issues we raise have already been addressed at a rapid pace.

Democracies depend on their abilities to listen to the people that own them. We witness in the COVID19 response in Aotearoa this accountability to the people, supporting a flexible infrastructure that is continually responsive to the pandemic and its changing nature.

Certainly there are ongoing challenges as the state responds to the changing numbers and scale of the pandemic. A communicative leadership has the robust capability to respond to these ongoing challenges because it is based on the recognition of the fundamental role of communication in making our communities and in sustaining them.

In an earlier OpEd, I wrote about COVID19 offering us a window into imagining new ways of organizing our communities, democracies, and the earth. Communicative leadership is a key ingredient in this work of imagination.

Article Source: The Time For Communicative Leadership Lessons from Aotearoa

MOHAN J.DUTTA | 4 APRIL, 2020

Follow us on : Facebook: @CAREMassey

Twitter: @CAREMasseyNZ


 

CARE White Paper Issue 4: March 2020

COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Package

by Christine Elers (Ngā Hau), Junior Research Officer, Center for Culture-centered Approach to Research & Evaluation (CARE)

We are writing about the government’s covid-19 wage subsidy package, in particular:

  • the sick leave payment due to be folded into the modified covid-19 wage subsidy package; and
  • the online publication outlining the names of all employers who have received the covid-19 wage subsidy package.

CARE Expresses Its Solidarity with our Activist-In-Residence Jolovan Wham

CARE’s Activist-in-Residence Jolovan Wham has surrendered himself to serve a 1 week jail sentence today, March 31 2020, for criticising Singapore’s judiciary.

In his statement posted on Facebook, Jolovan voiced:

“I’m doing this in lieu of a 5k fine because I do not recognise the legitimacy of the judgment and the law, both of which are unjust.

It should never be an offence to speak your truth. Decades of oppression and persecution have resulted in the normalisation of fear. It is so normalised that we have become indifferent to injustice, especially political injustice and threats to our civil rights. We have shrugged it off so much that over time, we’ve become numb to it, instead of feeling outraged.

If we can’t speak up, assemble freely, and campaign without looking over our shoulders, the reforms we want can only be done on the terms of those in power. We will have to wait for when they are ready. All this could take years, decades, or never at all. Or we can only pick issues which are considered ‘low hanging fruit.

All the levers of change are controlled and those who don’t follow the script are persecuted. We are so muted, we can only plead, but never make our demands as equals.

Acts of non-violent resistance and disobedience has to be one of the tools we use to open up our already shrinking civil and political space and to empower ourselves. It often starts with one person, or a small group of people, but over time, with persistence and repetition of action, the space will enlarge and we will progress, one step at a time.

We need to speak our truths, and to do so, we should refuse to fear. I refuse to be complicit in the diminishment of my spirit: resistance is no longer a choice in a system determined to de-humanise you.

There should be a role for those who not only negotiate the boundaries but transgress them. Not everyone can take this position and I understand those who can’t because the costs may be high; my privilege, on the other hand, allows me to take greater risks, and for that I am grateful.”

Sharing below an interview conducted by Professor Mohan Dutta with Jolovan on the topic of authoritarian repression and strategies for social change. Also sharing Jolovan’s public talk as activist-in-residence at CARE. CARE stands with you in solidarity, because as you say so eloquently, “Those of us who can risk it, should. Those who can’t, should show their support, because solidarity is the first step to change.”

A Conversation with Jolovan Wham, CARE Activist-in-Residence

Professor Mohan J Dutta sits down with CARE Activist-in-Residence Jolovan Wham about his work in Singapore

Posted by CARE: Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation on Monday, 25 November 2019
Public Talk with Jolovan Wham

First World Authoritarianism: Lessons from SingaporeTune in for this exciting public talk with CARE Activist-in-Residence Jolovan Wham!

Posted by CARE: Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation on Tuesday, 26 November 2019

CARE OPED: COVID19 – India’s Underclasses and the Depravity of Our Unequal Societies

What COVID19 makes visible


Article: COVID19 – India’s Underclasses and the Depravity of Our Unequal Societies

“It takes a pandemic to render visible the deep inequalities that make up the highly unequal societies we inhabit. As pandemics go, the power of COVID19 lies in its mobility, along the circuits of global capital, picked up and carried by the upwardly mobile classes feeding the financial and technology hubs of capital.

The irony of neoliberal globalization lies in the disproportionate burden of accelerated mobilities borne by the bodies of the poor at the global margins. The poor, whose bodies are the sites of neoliberal extraction, are also the bodies to be easily discarded when crises hit.

The images of throngs of people, the poor, now expelled from their spaces of precarious work at the metropolitan centers of financial and technology capital, spaces that are projected as the poster-models of mobility in development propaganda, walking on the long walk home, are circulating across our mobile screens.

Images of a migrant worker dead after the gruelling walk home, a mother pulling her daughter as they try to make their way home, a young man bursting into tears at the sight of food, a father walking as he carries his sleeping daughter on his shoulders, crowds of workers waiting in long lines to board buses, these are the faces of the unequal India made visible by COVID19.

These images of emaciated men and women, with little children, carrying pots, torn down bags and dilapidated beddings on their heads, walking on the roads and highways that form the infrastructures of the new India are haunting reminders of the masses of displaced people expelled by wars, riots, genocides, and famines.”

By: MOHAN J.DUTTA | 29 MARCH, 2020

Source:https://www.thecitizen.in/

CARE’S COVID-19 RESPONSE

CARE has been responding to COVID19 through our community advisory groups, community workshops, and community researchers. The communities we have been working in have been creatively developing a wide range of interventions, advocacy, and activist solutions. Please click the link below to explore our policy briefs, white papers, and interventions addressing COVID-19 based on the key tenets of the CCA

EVENT UPDATE: Upcoming CARE Anti-Racism Week events online- 21-23 March 2020

Kia Ora,

Message sent on behalf of Prof Mohan Dutta (Director, Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE)) following up on the earlier email, below are the updated event posters and the online livestream links to CARE’s Anti-Racism Events between 21-23 March 2020

21 March @ 2 pm – #EndTheHate Campaign Launch – ONLINE

Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/218154419241534/

Livestream link: @CAREMassey

22 March  @ 4 pm – ONLINE

#ENDTHEHATE: Strategies for dismantiling hate

Guest speaker: Anjum Rahman

Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/2715896505203833

Facebook livestream Link: https://www.facebook.com/CAREMassey/videos/1380049082185971/

23 March @ 5 pm – ONLINE

CARE Event: Connecting Anti-Racist Struggles: From Indigenous Resistance To Refugee Rights

Guest speaker: Marise Lant

Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1041743546196044/

Facebook livestream Link: https://www.facebook.com/CAREMassey/videos/2757140504340482/   

CARE COVID-19 WHITE PAPERS

CARE White Paper Issue 8

Structural constraints, voice infrastructures, and mental health among low-wage migrant workers in Singapore: Solutions for addressing COVID19

Mohan J. Dutta Director, Center for Culture-centered Approach to Research & Evaluation, Massey University

Responding to the continued rise in COVID19 clusters in migrant worker dormitories in Singapore, and building on earlier research (See CARE White paper Issue 6), this White Paper reports on the findings of a survey conducted with low-wage migrant workers in Singapore. In addition to the poor living conditions highlighted earlier, the structural constraints on preventive behavior are explored. Drawing on the key tenets of the culture-centered approach, the research highlights the powerful role of structural factors such as arrangements of dormitories, the absence of hygienic conditions because of the structures, the lack of clean toilets, pressure on limited toilets, and scarcity of water. The findings highlight the challenges to mental health and wellbeing experienced by the workers. Moreover, it points to the absence of voice infrastructures, and the ways in which this absence contributes to conditions that are rife for the pandemic. Solutions for structural solutions and voice democracy are offered.


 

CARE White Paper Issue 7

Culture-centered community-led testing

Gayle Moana – Johnson, CARE – Community Research Assistant and Mohan J. Dutta, Director,Center for Culture – centered Approach to Research & Evaluation Massey University

In this white paper, the community advisory group in Highbury, working with community researcher Gayle Moana-Johnson, developed the key conceptual guidelines for culture-centered community-grounded testing. The white paper highlights the key concepts anchoring the partnership between the community advisory group and the clinical team at HHPNZ

This white paper outlines the key principles of culture-centered community-led testing that are voiced by the advisory group of community members in Highbury, anchored in the principle of representing the most “in-need” members of the community (referred in the rest of this white paper as the “margins of the margins”). The key ideas in this white paper are developed as anchoring principles for the partnership between the community advisory group and the Health Hub Project New Zealand (HHPNZ).


CARE White Paper Issue 6:

Infrastructures of housing and food for low-wage migrant workers in Singapore


Courtesy Julio Etchart as part of CARE’s “Respect Migrant Rights” campaign in Singapore

This white paper responds to the high prevalence of COVID-19 in clusters associated with dormitories that house low-wage migrant workers in Singapore. Based on an ongoing digital ethnography (45 hours of participant observation) conducted in spaces where low-wage migrant workers participate online, 43 interviews conducted between April 7 2020 and April 13, 2020, inputs from advisory group of lowwage migrant workers, and drawing on 157 in-depth interviews conducted since 2013, the following key challenges with housing and food, as well as corresponding key solutions are proposed. Each of the key challenges is presented, alongside specific recommendations for solutions. The participants for the interviews were identified using snowball sampling. The interviews were conducted in Bengali, mix of Bengali and English, or English, depending on the level of comfort of the participant. Given the sense of anxiety expressed by the participants (see theme 7 below), the white paper does not disclose the locations. Also, it does not separate the different forms of arrangements to protect the confidentiality of the participants. The excerpts from the interviews are truncated to protect the identity of the participants. One of the limitations of the current study is the small sample size of the COVID19- specific data gathered between the April 7 and April 13 timeframe; however, the depth of the narratives offer rich contextually-embedded insights into the challenges being experienced by low-wage migrant workers and the potential insights they envision. The CARE research team is currently conducting a follow-up quantitative study exploring everyday experiences of health and wellbeing among low-wage migrant workers.


CARE White Paper Issue 5: April 2020

Challenges To Seeking Health Information And Healthcare Among Low Income Communities Amid COVID19

by Mohan J. Dutta Director, Center for Culture-centered Approach to Research & Evaluation, Massey University

The findings reported here are drawn from our advisory group of community members that represent the community in Highbury. The advisory group has been built on the basis of purposive sampling, ensuring that the voices of the “margins of the margins” are represented. The advisory group meets face-to-face as well as on a digital platform. The group is facilitated by two community researchers, recruited from within the advisory group and trained in the fundamentals of interview-based research.


CARE White Paper Issue 4: March 2020

COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Package

Christine Elers (Ngā Hau), Junior Research Officer, Center for Culture-centered Approach to Research & Evaluation (CARE)

We are writing about the government’s covid-19 wage subsidy package, in particular:

  • the sick leave payment due to be folded into the modified covid-19 wage subsidy package; and
  • the online publication outlining the names of all employers who have received the covid-19 wage subsidy package.

CARE White Paper: Issue 3 April 2020

The limits of the “Singapore Model” in COVID-19 response: Why authoritarian governmentality is not the solution

Mohan J. Dutta, Director, Center for Culture-centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE)

A wide range of models have been proposed as frameworks for responding to Covid-19. These models highlight
the significance of health communication in preventing the spread of COVID19 as well as in effectively responding to it. The positioning of specific models as solutions to COVID-19 is tied to the creation of actual strategies of response
globally. One such model that has been rapidly disseminated in policy discourse and circulated in articulations of COVID response is the “Singapore Model.” Drawing on the key tenets of the CCA, this paper will examine the premise of the “Singapore Model” as a framework for global health.

The white paper draws on the key tenets of the CCA to examine Singapore’s pandemic response. The CCA foregrounds the interplays of culture, structure, and agency in the constructions of health meanings and the development of health solutions.

Structure refers to the political
economy of organizing resources in society. Culture reflects the community norms, community-based meanings, and community values guiding relational negotiations of health and wellbeing. Agency reflects the relational and collective capacities of communities to develop solutions.


CARE White Paper: Issue 2 March 2020

A culture-centered approach to pandemic response: Voice, Universal Infrastructure, and Equality

Mohan J. Dutta, Director, Center for Culture-centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE)

The global nodes of spread of Covid-19 highlight the significance of health communication in preventing the spread as well as in effectively responding to it. On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Noting the aggressive movement of the virus across countries, with eight countries reporting more than 1000 cases of COVID-19, the WHO declared COVID-19 as a pandemic. Drawing on critical analyses of the pandemic and crises response literatures as well as building on the experiences of CARE in developing culture-centered community grounded interventions,this white paper outlines the culture-centered approach to pandemic response, specifically directed at offering culturecentered guidelines for effective communication. The culture-centered approach foregrounds the interplays of culture, structure, and agency in the constructions of health meanings and the development of health solutions


CARE: Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation + Te Tiriti Based Futures -21-28-March 2020 Events

Upcoming CARE: Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation Events during the National Anti-racism week.

Te Tiriti-based Futures + Anti-Racism 2020 is an innovative (inter)national, online and offline, Tiriti-based, anti-racism and decolonisation event in Aotearoa. CARE is proud to be partnering and participating is this community driven event that will run for 10 days starting 21 March 2020.

RSVP on @CAREMassey events below

21 MARCH 2020
2PM – 4PM City Library PNCC, Events centre
White Paper Launch:
The Experience & Effects of Racisim in Aotearoa New
Zealand.
#Photovoice
#ichoosehighbury launch

22 MARCH 2020
4PM City Library PNCC,Events centre
#ENDTHEHATE: Stratergies for dismantiling hate.

5:30PM
MOVIE SCREENING: Waru.
koha entry

23 MARCH 2020
4PM – 7PM City Library PNCC,Events centre
Connecting anti- racist struggle: From indigenous resistance to refugee rights.- Marise Lant

24 MARCH 2020
6PM – 8PM
Dismantaling Racisim with Andrew Judd, Marise Lant and the Feilding Advisory board.

26 MARCH 2020
11AM – 1PM St. Michael’s Marae Highbury
The Racist Roots Of Colonialism Speakers: Rodney Graham & Marise Lant.

4PM – 7PM Youth Space Youth Voice For Social Change -Dismantaling Racism.

-5:30PM Youth Panel Online Stratergies For Challenging Hate
Skype presentation
-Tauiwi Tautoko
-Q&A with Laura, Action Station, Director

27 MARCH 2020
2PM – 4PM Japan LT MASSEY
– CARE Public Panel: “Islamophobia, Hindutva, & Hate”

28 MARCH 2020
11AM – 11:45AM
#ENDTHEHATE Bus ride

12PM – 4PM PNNC – Square
“Community Dialouge On Anti-Racism ”
-Looking Forward
-Poetry, Open mic, Spoken word
-Poster making #ENDTHEHATE

#EndTheHate #WhakamutuaTeMauāhara#TeTiritiBasedFutures + #AntiRacism2020

CARE Event: Pizza and conversation about racism

Have YOU experienced racism at @MasseyUni? Share your stories over
FREE pizza with us at CARE: Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation

Come & join us at CARE: Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation
Time: 4:00PM
Place: BUSINESS STUDIES CENTRAL GROUND FLOOR ROOM 1.06
If you get lost ring!
0800MASSEY extn 85662
#AntiRacismWeek2020#TeTiriBasedFutures2020#CAREMassey#MasseyUni

CARE Visiting Lecture -Public Talk – Dr. Laura Miller -University of Tennessee

Communicating about cancer: Considerations for identity and uncertainty management

Date: Thursday, 20 Feb 2020 Time: 12pm – 1pm
Location: BSC 1.06 CARE Lab, Manawatu campus. Massey University
RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/1526896230798430/

Talk Abstract:
Communicating about cancer presents many challenges for patients and their families. Uncertainty is prevalent across the survivorship trajectory; specifically, questions regarding recurrence, unexplained symptoms, and renegotiating relational roles all may persist after cancer treatment is completed. This talk will consider the communication processes and uncertainty management strategies patients and families engage in throughout a cancer experience and beyond.

Short Bio:
Laura Miller received her PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is currently an Associate Professor in the School of Communication Studies at the University of Tennessee in the USA. Her works explores how individuals communicate about health, how families communicate support amid health stressors, and how illness-related uncertainty is managed. She is passionate about global education and has taught in Beijing, Dublin, and Sydney.