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COVID-19, state (in)visibility and structural violence in low- and middle-income countries

28.07.22 | Bangladesh | Ethiopia

COVID-19 | Economic empowerment | Employment and work | Social protection

Authors

Kate Pincock, Nicola Jones, Khadija Mitu, Silvia Guglielmi, Abreham Iyasu

The socioeconomic impact of COVID-19 on adolescents and youth in lower- and middle-income countries (LMICs) who have migrated for work, are among the urban poor, or have been forcibly displaced is not well understood. To address this knowledge gap, this article draws on in-depth qualitative interviews undertaken between April and July 2020 with 249 adolescent girls and boys and 24 community key informants in Bangladesh and Ethiopia. These two countries have divergent social protection systems and thus provide a useful comparative lens to understand state provisioning for the most disadvantaged, including vulnerable young people, in crisis contexts.

Despite rapid implementation of restrictions to halt viral spread, the mobilisation of social protection in response to the pandemic’s socioeconomic effects has lagged. Using a lens of structural violence, findings underscore that socially marginalised young people are the most disadvantaged by state failures to deliver essential services or protection. There has also been insufficient support from humanitarian and development actors in responding to the challenges of the pandemic. The article concludes that identifying and addressing how structural inequalities shape access to and inclusion in social protection mechanisms can contribute to more effectively targeted measures to support the most disadvantaged, especially during crises.

Suggested citation:

Pincock, K., Jones, N., Mitu, K., Guglielmi, S., Iyasu, A. (2022) ‘COVID-19, state (in)visibility and structural violence in low- and middle-income countries’ International Social Science Journal (https://doi.org/10.1111/issj.12358)


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