CARE manuscripts accepted at 71st International Communication Association Conference, 27-31 May 2021

ICA 2021 conference theme of Engaging the Essential Work of Care: Communication, Connectedness, and Social Justice

CARE: Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation is looking forward to the opportunity to share our work at the 71st International Communication Association Conference #ICA21. This year’s virtual ICA conference is to be held on 27-31 May 2021 and has the theme “Engaging the Essential Work of Care: Communication, Connectedness, and Social Justice”.

The following manuscripts have been accepted for presentation

  • Negotiations of health among Rohingya Refugees in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh: A culture-centered approach to health and care by Mahbubur Rahman; Mohan Jyoti Dutta
  • Receiving healthcare while locked down: Voices from the margins in Aotearoa New Zealand by Phoebe Elers,Steven Elers & Prof. Mohan Jyoti Dutta
  • Extreme neoliberalism, migrant labour and COVID-19 outbreak in Singapore: A culture-centered interrogation by Prof. Mohan Jyoti Dutta
  • Migrant worker health as a human right: A culture-centered approach by Prof. Mohan Jyoti Dutta
  • Nobody Cares About Us: COVID-19 and Voices of Refugees from Aotearoa New Zealand by Pooja Jayan
  • If they cared, they’d listen:’ Culturally centering listening to disrupt the logics of community engagement by Christine Elers
  • Innocence lost: Community building as praxis by Prof. Mohan Jyoti Dutta, Prof. Shiv Ganesh & Christine Elers

In addition to: ‘Prejudice toward the “Other” during the Covid-19 Pandemic’ by Stephen Croucher, Thao Nguyen, Mohan Dutta & Doug Ashwell, along with fellow academics Tatiana Permyakova & Oscar Gomez

#ICA21 #ICA2021 #SocialMedia #communication #Connectedness #SocialJustice #CARE Massey #CARECCA #MasseyCJM #MasseyUni #masseyuniversity #Research #NewZealand #Aotearoa

About ICA 2021 conference theme

The ICA 2021 conference theme of Engaging the Essential Work of Care: Communication, Connectedness, and Social Justice calls for our examination of how care forms the fabric of our social and interconnected lives. From the moment that we enter this world we are completely dependent on the care of others, and as we move through our lives, the care of our teachers, doctors, leaders, and artists shape us into the adults that we are today. Even as we leave this earth, on our last days, we are comforted by the care of loved ones.

“Care” can be understood from a variety of perspectives relevant to communication. Namely, care can refer to:

  • Providing Assistance for Others (She takes care of my aunt.)
  • Being Interested in a Topic/Issue/Idea (They care about the notion of compassion.)
  • Concern about Others’ Well-Being (He cares what will happen to his children.)
  • The Provision of Needed Attention or Resources (Do they provide care at the hospital?)

The concept of care can also be understood from at least two vantage points that intersect with those meanings: self-directed and community-centered. The relative priority of self and community care within a given community reflects deeply embedded cultural values, experiences of oppressions, access to resources, and histories of trust.

The concept of “care” requires our thoughtful examination and reflection. Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the crisis of climate change, and militarized police brutality that continues to target, harass, and kill people of color, the urgency of care to address entrenched inequalities, an overarching climate of neglect, and a global political economy of individualized self-help has been rendered visible. Communication emerges in this backdrop as a transformative site for re-working care, anchoring it in relationships, communities, organizing processes, media systems, and social formations. Care is both constituted by and constitutive of communication, as a register for creating spaces of compassion and connectedness.

CARE Research News: CARE article published in Health Communication journal- “Negotiating Health Amidst COVID-19 Lockdown in Low-income Communities in Aotearoa New Zealand”.

Christine Elers , Pooja Jayan, Phoebe Elers & Mohan J. Dutta

Center of Culture-centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE), School of Communication, Journalism and Marketing, Massey University


Aotearoa New Zealand’s public health crisis communication approach amidst the COVID-19 pandemic effectively mobilized the nation into swift lockdown, significantly reducing community transmission. This communication approach has been applauded around the world. How did communities situated amongst the “margins of the margins” in Aotearoa New Zealand navigate through the existing structural barriers to health during the pandemic? In this study, we use a culture-centered analysis to foreground the structural context of disenfranchisement amidst the COVID-19 lockdown. Drawing on in-depth interviews with participants in a larger ethnographic project on poverty and health across three communities in Aotearoa New Zealand, we attend to the ways in which health is negotiated amidst the COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown response at the “margins of the margins.” The narratives point out that health communication interventions to prevent COVID-19 in the context of Aotearoa New Zealand furthered the marginalization of communities at the margins, and community voices were largely erased from the enactment of interventions. With the extant structures failing to recognize these aspects of everyday struggles of health at the margins, the health and access challenges were further magnified during COVID-19. Our attention to communication situated in relationship to structures builds a register for health communication scholarship in the context of COVID-19 that is committed to disrupting the behaviorally based hegemonic health communication literature and transforming the unequal terrains of health experiences.

The trajectories of COVID-19 (C19) as well as the preventive policy responses to it have disproportionately impacted the global margins (Dutta et al., 2020). Across countries, regions, and communities, those at the gendered, raced, and classed margins have borne largely the effects of the pandemic (Patel et al., 2020). Aotearoa New Zealand has been globally recognized for its decisive leadership and the overarching effectiveness of its science-based C19 response, accompanied by clear communication and state-led welfare support (Cousins, 2020; Dutta et al., 2020; PRovoke Media, 2020). How then do inequities in health play out amidst this effective model of C19 response? Traditionally, Māori, Pasifika, and refugee communities have borne the greatest burdens of poor health outcomes in Aotearoa New Zealand (Mahony et al., 2017; McIntosh & Mulholland, 2011; Ministry of Health, 2014). These features of raced/citizenship-based identity intersect with poverty to produce marginalization (Bowleg, 2020).

In this essay, we draw on our ethnographic fieldwork embedded in the culture-centered approach (CCA) with Māori, Pasifika, and refugee communities across three sites in Aotearoa New Zealand to examine the interplays of culture, structure, and agency at the margins in constituting the everyday negotiations of health and wellbeing amidst the C19 outbreak (Dutta, 2020). Our emphasis here is on foregrounding the structural context of marginalization, drawing out the common threads in the diverse experiences with the Whiteness of the pandemic communication response across raced identities at the peripheries in Aotearoa New Zealand that historically bear disproportionate burdens of health inequities (Mahony et al., 2017; McIntosh & Mulholland, 2011; Ministry of Health, 2014). The C19-related advocacy work performed by our academic-activist team emerged out of our advisory group members seeking solutions to the existing and new challenges to health introduced by C19. In this essay, we highlight the structural dimension of the culture-structure-agency framework of the CCA, challenging hegemonic message-based theorizing (Dutta, 2015).

CARE PUBLIC TALK SERIES: Transforming Indigenous Education: Kaupapa Māori Enactment with Distinguished Prof. Graham Hingangaroa Smith, Massey University

CARE PUBLIC TALK SERIES : Transforming Indigenous Education: Kaupapa Māori Enactment with Distinguished Prof. Graham Hingangaroa Smith,Distinguished Professorial Chair, Te Toi Ihorei ki Pūrehuroa, Massey University

Venue: Mezzanine Floor (1 Floor Entrance), Palmerston North City LibraryJoin the Facebook

Livestream on @caremassey


Talk Abstract:The title transforming Indigenous education is deliberately ambiguous – both meanings are intended. That is, given the persistence of high and disproportionate outcomes of inequality within Māori and Indigenous communities there needs to be transformative change with respect to both the processes and outcomes of education. We will not have a revolution of our unequal social and economic conditions without a prior or simultaneous educational revolution. In this presentation I argue the need for Indigenous educators to be able to work across the intersections of simultaneously being a scholar, critical activist and transformer.In this presentation Prof. Smith shares stories that illustrate this approach and challenge the dominant institutional pressures to become ‘privatized’ academics.About the Speaker:Professor Smith is a prominent and internationally regarded Māori educationalist and scholar who has been at the forefront of transforming Māori and Indigenous education and schooling. His work links theoretical thinking and practical applications within an ongoing cycle of transformative praxis.Professor Smith’s earlier training was in Social Anthropology and he completed a MA (Hons) dissertation on ‘Māori Rituals of Encounter’ entitled ‘The Significance of Green Leaves in Pohiri Ritual’. He trained as a teacher at Auckland Teachers College and taught in Auckland schools. He also lectured in Education at Auckland College of Education. He was one of the first teachers and developers of a Kura Kaupapa Māori – a Māori philosophy and principles-based School. These schools have grown from a single entity in 1988 to over seventy-five publicly funded schools in 2015. His theoretical leadership in the Education Department at the University of Auckland helped inform the emergence of Māori Education as a distinct field of study across the New Zealand Tertiary Sector. This work has encouraged a wide range of academic studies focused on overthrowing persisting inequities within and as a result of education and schooling in New Zealand. His significant contribution to New Zealand education is to be seen in his work related to Kaupapa Māori as a theory of Transformative Praxis.#CAREPublicTalkSeries#Transforming#IndigenousEducation#Kaupapa#Māori#Enactment#Aotearoa#NewZealand
#CARECCA#CAREMassey#MasseyCJM#MasseyUni#PNCC#PalmerstonNorthCityLibrary See Less

Opinion: Attacking courses on critical pedagogy is a strategy of the far right

By Professor Mohan J. Dutta, Director, CARE: Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation

Opinion: Attacking courses on critical pedagogy is a strategy of the far right

In what was marketed as the first “Leaders Breakfast” on NewstalkZB with Mike Hoskings, the leader of the National Party, Judith Collins, commented on the secondary education curriculum of Aotearoa New Zealand, stating; “The trouble with NCEA, Mike, to be frank, is there’s too many photography classes, too much media studies, too much woke stuff.”

The contempt for the creative arts and media studies expressed by Collins should be read alongside similar such attacks by the far right on critical pedagogy across the globe. That Collins places the teaching of media studies as “woke stuff” sheds light on what her problem with media studies really is – that she sees the discipline as teaching students how to ask critical questions.

In the US, Donald Trump has issued a state directive attacking the teaching of critical race theory. It has instructed all federal agencies to stop anti-bias training programmes that draw on critical race theory or address white privilege.

In a speech delivered at the National Archives Museum, Trump attacked critical race theory by stating that it encourages “deceptions, falsehoods and lies” by the “left-wing cultural revolution”.

Suggesting that students in US universities are inundated with what he terms “critical race theory propaganda,”, Trump said, “This is a Marxist doctrine holding that America is a wicked and racist nation, that even young children are complicit in oppression, and that our entire society must be radically transformed. Critical race theory is being forced into our children’s schools, it’s being imposed into workplace trainings, and it’s being deployed to rip apart friends, neighbours, and families.”

In India, the Narendra Modi-led right wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has systematically attacked universities that are seen as sites of critical education. Organised state violence has worked alongside the instruments of violence of the right wing Bharatiya Janata Party to attack and seek to dismantle university spaces for critical pedagogy. The renowned Jawaharlal Nehru University has been targeted with violence. Similar attacks have been carried out on Jamia Millia Islamia University.

What is the goal of critical pedagogy?

Critical pedagogy examines the ways in which inequalities are scripted into societal, institutional, and organisational structures and practices. It attends to the inequalities in the distribution of power, reading closely the ways in which these inequalities shape the inequities in outcomes in society. In the US for instance, the African American life span on average is shorter than the lifespan of Caucasians and Asians. In India, lower caste communities experience poorer health outcomes compared to upper castes. In Aotearoa New Zealand, in 2014, premature mortality for Māori and Pacific people was more than two times that of non-Māori and non-Pacific populations. By closely examining the patterns of distribution of power in society, critical pedagogy offers a framework for examining the ways in which inequalities have been historically produced and entrenched. In doing so, it offers students ways of conceptualising and working toward a society that is just, inclusive, and egalitarian.

A common thread across the far right attacks on critical pedagogy is the denial of entrenched societal inequalities that have been actively reworked by five decades of relentless neoliberalism.           

The far right has introduced terms such as “cancel culture” to attack the calls for equality and social, cultural, economic, and political justice. The mainstreaming of the term under the guise of “freedom of expression” obfuscates the inequalities that are actively cultivated by the far right. For instance, attacks on transgender rights under the guise of free speech have been organised under the rhetoric of “cancel culture”. The term works actively to erase the inequalities produced by a gendered politics of hate, instead turning those occupying identities of power as victims. This projection of victimhood is a key strategic resource of the far right. In Trump’s US, white men are the victims. In Modi’s India, upper caste, Hindu men are the victims. In Collins’ Aotearoa New Zealand, white Pākehā culture is the victim.

The narrative of victimhood is used to mainstream hate groups into politics. Consider, for instance, the implicit support offered by Trump to the white supremacist groups. In a recent Presidential debate, he declined to condemn the far right group ‘Proud Boys’, instead stating, “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by! But I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about antifa and the left.”

Yet another strategy deployed by the far right is to create the false dichotomy between critical pedagogy and what is termed as “useful subjects.” In her interview with Hoskings, Collins added that she would promote the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). She also noted the importance of financial literacy and more practical economics. As noted by the media scholar Neil Curtis, Collins “quickly qualified what she meant by economics, which she believes should be “less theoretical” and “more practical.” For Collins, what is practical is not critical.

Ironically, what this pernicious ideology of the far right consistently makes visible is the practical urgency of critical pedagogy. Critical pedagogy teaches students to closely interrogate the neoliberal ideology that circulates phony claims such as more technology and growth would solve the climate crisis. Critical pedagogy equips students with the capacity to interrogate the ideology of hate perpetuated by the far right on digital platforms.

Communication and media studies, with anchors in critical pedagogy, are vital to the education of a Prime Minister that has led to what is considered globally as one of the most effective responses to the pandemic. Clear communication, anchored in science, with a heart and with a commitment to social, political, and economic justice is the need of the hour.

If there is one thing the pandemic teaches us, it is this. A strong communication and media education grounded in critical pedagogy is as practical and necessary as an education in public health, medicine, and engineering.

Mohan J. Dutta is Dean’s Chair Professor, Director of the Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE), and editor of the Journal of Applied Communication Research (JACR)

Special Presentation: A New Lecture Series :”Decolonizing Whiteness” with Prof. Mohan Dutta.

Join us at the Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE) for this special presentation of Professor Mohan J Dutta’s new lecture series: Decolonizing Whiteness Lecture Series

Stay tuned for more information on the new Lecture Series or follow us on our Facebook: & Twitter: pages for the latest updates.

Professor Mohan Dutta Wins Prestigious Charles H. Woolbert Research Award and Golden Anniversary Monograph Award from the National Communication Association

Mohan J. Dutta, Dean’s Chair Professor of Communication at Massey University and Director of the CARE: Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation C, recently received the 2020 Charles H. Woolbert Research Award and the Golden Anniversary Monograph Award from the National Communication Association (NCA). Given annually, the Charles H. Woolbert Research Award honors a journal article or book chapter that has stood the test of time and has become a stimulus for new conceptualizations of communication phenomena. Dr. Dutta was recognized for the article, “Communicating about Culture and Health: Theorizing Culture-Centered and Cultural Sensitivity Approaches,” published in Communication Theory in 2007. Dr. Dutta’s paradigm-shifting critical-theoretical and applied intervention into health communication contexts and practices, addresses structural inequalities and centers the voices of those struggling on global margins. “Communicating about Culture and Health” changed the discipline, expanded cross-disciplinary and cross-methodological collaboration, and influenced curricula in medical schools as well as clinical practice. Cited more than 600 times, in more than a dozen languages, on every continent, this article has directly shaped projects benefitting “marginalized communities around the world, ranging from immigrant, African American, and First Nations communities in the United States and Canada, to migrant workers communities throughout South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East, to minoritized communities in South Africa, South America, and more.”The Golden Anniversary Monograph Award is given annually to honor the most outstanding scholarly monograph(s) published during the previous calendar year. Dr. Dutta was recognized for the article, “‘Communication sovereignty’ as Resistance: Strategies Adopted by Women Farmers Amid the Agrarian Crisis in India,” published in the Journal of Applied Communication Research in 2019 with Dr. Jagadish Thaker. Drs. Dutta and Thaker’s article is based on five years of participatory research with women farmers in southern India. The article highlights how women from oppressed caste communities in southern India come together to organize for increased economic and political power. The intervention that this article develops and emerges from addresses one of the most pressing issues of our time: food.“NCA’s annual awards honor communication scholars’ teaching, scholarship, and service,” NCA Executive Director Trevor Parry-Giles said. “NCA is proud to recognize Dr. Dutta’s significant contributions to the Communication discipline with this award.”Dr. Dutta’s award will be presented virtually on November 21 at the NCA 106th Annual Convention. For more information about NCA’s awards program, visit About the National Communication AssociationThe National Communication Association (NCA) advances Communication as the discipline that studies all forms, modes, media, and consequences of communication through humanistic, social scientific, and aesthetic inquiry. NCA serves the scholars, teachers, and practitioners who are its members by enabling and supporting their professional interests in research and teaching. Dedicated to fostering and promoting free and ethical communication, NCA promotes the widespread appreciation of the importance of communication in public and private life, the application of competent communication to improve the quality of human life and relationships, and the use of knowledge about communication to solve human problems. NCA supports inclusiveness and diversity among our faculties, within our membership, in the workplace, and in the classroom; NCA supports and promotes policies that fairly encourage this diversity and inclusion.

For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter at @natcomm, and find us on Facebook

#ResearchAwards #NationalCommunicationAssociationAwards #CharlesHWoolbertResearchAward #GoldenAnniversaryMonographAward

CARE COVID19 Lecture Series #12- (Im)migrants, Border Restrictions and Racism: Authoritarian Impulses in the Guise of Coronavirus Response – with Professor Sudeshna Roy, Stephen F. Austin State University, Texas

CARE COVID19 Lecture Series #12- (Im)migrants, Border Restrictions and Racism: Authoritarian Impulses in the Guise of Coronavirus Response – with Professor Sudeshna Roy, Stephen F. Austin State University, Texas

CARE COVID19 Lecture Series #12- (Im)migrants, Border Restrictions and Racism: Authoritarian Impulses in the Guise of Coronavirus Response – with Professor Sudeshna Roy, Stephen F. Austin State University, Texas

Wednesday, 16th September 2020 @ 7PM NZST

Facebook Livestream: @CAREMassey


The rise of authoritarian regimes across the world has made it more and more difficult for immigrants, migrants, asylum seekers and refugees to move to places and spaces that provide more avenues of sustainable livelihood, security from religious or other forms of persecution, or simply a better life for themselves and their loved ones. Their situation has been made even more vulnerable within the context of COVID-19 and border closures. In this talk, I review current literature on (im)migrant populations and racism and critically analyze the discourses of powerful politicians from different parts of the world to unpack how their response to COVID-19 and the control of their borders have deeper and long-lasting meaning and implications for (im)migrants and other vulnerable populations. The analysis reveals that politicians’ COVID-19 responses achieve several racist and nationalist goals: tilting the ideological wars in favor of labor laws that largely disregard the value and needs of (im)migrants; promote the nationalist agenda of restricting legal immigration; and fan the fires of the strong, pressing, and, sometimes violent, aspirations of the dominant White class eager to play exclusionary politics with regard to (im)migrants’ religious/ethnic/racial identities. I end with a reflection from my personal experience as an immigrant within the COVD-19 context and provide some directions as to how discourses of resistance can be formed, even within the restrictive policies and politics of the authoritarian impulses that are rampant realities in today’s world.

For more info visit:

#Immigrants#BorderRestrictions#Racism#AuthoritarianImpulses#CoronavirusResponse#COVID19 #CAREMassey#CARECOVID19LectureSeries #MasseyCJM#MasseyUni

Professor Mohan Dutta’s book – “Communicating health: A culture-centered approach” receives Outstanding Book Award from the National Communication Association Health Communication

CARE: Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation team congratulates Professor Mohan Dutta on the Outstanding Book Award from the National Communication Association Health Communication Division to his book, “Communicating health: A culture-centered approach” published with Polity. The book lays out the foundational concepts of the #CultureCenteredApproach (CCA), a meta-theoretical framework for health communication organizing, advocacy, and activism directed at transforming the deeply unequal structures that constitute health inequalities. The impact of the book, and its key theoretical argument on the CCA is felt globally, shaping two decades of health activism, health communication solutions, health interventions, and advocacy to shape health policy. Most vitally, the framework put forth in the book is recognized by global policy organizations including the World Health Organization (WHO) Europe and the United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization UNESCO, as a lens for exploring the connections between culture and health. Cited over 485 times across #CommunicationStudies#MedicalAnthropology#Geography#Sociology#PublicHealth and #Medicine, the book has formed the basis of over 200 MA theses and doctoral dissertations.


CARE WHITE PAPER ISSUE 10: Digital Hate and the infrastructures of communicative capital

by Prof. Mohan Dutta,Director, CARE Massey University

Image source: 2020 Guardian News & Media Limited

Communicative capital, the consolidation of communicative infrastructures to drive profiteering, forms the face of twenty-first century neoliberalism. From Facebook to Amazon, digital communication is one of the most profitable sites of capitalist expansion.

Communicative capital is intertwined with financial and technological capital, drawing on the global networks of finance and simultaneously creating new sites and spaces for financialization.

Communicative capital works through the commercialization of human participation on digital platforms, turning likes, shares, and comments into profitable resources.

Of the wide array of human emotions on digital platforms that drive profiteering, hate is a powerful resource that draws in viewers, propels shares, and creates networks of flow. Hate has the potential of generating large profits because of its virality.

#CAREMassey #carewhitepaper #DigitalHate #Infrastructures #CommunicativeCapital