Resilience and (Dis)empowerment: Use of Social Media Among Female Mainland Low-Skilled Workers in Macao During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Bei Ju, Hai Min Dai, Todd L. Sandel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The role of social media in a resilient process is associated with the co-constitution of structural forces and users’ agency. During COVID-19, how women—particularly low-skilled labor migrants—used social media for empowerment is underexplored. By taking a socio-techno approach, this study qualitatively examines mobile phone-based social media usage among female mainland low-skilled workers in Macao when coping with the pandemic. The enabling yet constraining role of social media has been identified through semi-structured interviews. Social media use is a double-edged sword: on the one hand, social media is appropriated to relieve stress and anxiety, open access to updated COVID-19 related information, and manage contagious risks; on the other hand, it reinforces existing constraints and thus hinders resilience, due to female migrant workers’ high risk of addictive social media use and limited information literacy. Moving beyond the Information and Communication Technology empowerment, a more inclusive approach is recommended in the long term to cope with the risks and uncertainties posed by the pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSAGE Open
Volume13
Issue number1
Early online date15 Mar 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Mar 2023

Keywords

  • (dis)empowerment
  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • female low-skilled migrant workers
  • resilience
  • social media

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