Mohabeer, Ravindra

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    COVID bread-porn: Social stratification in a pandemic state
    (Routledge, 2021) Mohabeer, Ravindra N.
    Much has been and will continue to be made of ‘official responses’ to the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly around the varying success of prescribed isolation practices and how well (or not) people, taken in aggregate, complied with them. This paper examines a more spontaneous response to COVID-19 isolation that emerged: bread-porn. Taken literally, bread-porn is the competitive display of gratuitous pictures of home-baked bread across social media (particularly in the ‘west’), shared by people isolated at home. On the surface, such pictures perfunctorily depict bread; yet, it is argued that these pictures are more nuanced than that, and that the bread itself is almost immaterial. ‘COVID bread-porn’ was a jockeying for social standing and represented one of many unique, if temporary, forms of do-it-yourself (DIY) cultural currency while people were less able to access other extant systems of representational social stratification. The paper discusses the value and significance of the suffix ‘porn’ with respect to struggles to understand the extremities of new systems of value, by linking how temporary COVID culture fit into the flow of the cultural changes that preceded it. The paper argues that the world faced the COVID pandemic at a tumultuous time, ones marked by liminality between historically ‘physical’ and emerging ‘cerebral’ cultural practices in many societies (i.e. the move from manufacturing to ‘knowledge’ economies). Thus, it situates bread-porn as an attempt to ‘win’ at isolation by demonstrating prowess with available domestic resources, and highlights the productive tension of bread-porn that extends and potentially resists the social imperatives of pandemic self-management.
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    A method to analyze invisibility: Navigating the dissonance between woke and safe
    (Sage, 2021-05-28) Mohabeer, Ravindra N.
    This article starts by considering how ‘the talk’ that black and non-black minority families give to their children comes as a duty to transfer the wisdom of how to be invisible forward through generations. It is not uncommon to think about being visible as a social good, but this is not quite so straightforward when one occupies a body deemed as ‘other.’ This article exposes this tension to explore how invisibility can be understood as an independent, complex, and nuanced social dynamic in its own right by considering literature that uses invisibility as an analytical lens, providing a synthesis of that literature to offer a preliminary multidimensional model of invisibility to extend extant tools for sociological study. This literature considers race, gender, sexuality, various presentations of power, and different social systems to demonstrate a model that identifies how the intersection of power, affect, presence, and voice fluidly transfigure across time and space to create an overall social construct of invisibility. This suggests that deeper development of a multidimensional construct of invisibility can provide a reasoned and valuable additional lens to address a range of social dynamics.