Between Vulnerability and Resistance: How a Woman Copes with Dramatic Implications of COVID-19 in Russia

Lea Katharina Reiss, Andrew Kozhevnikov, Sara Louise Muhr

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


During the summer of 2020, a woman in Russia not only contracted COVID‐19 herself but also lost her husband to virus‐related health complications and, later, lost her job. This article is based on interviews with her about vulnerability and ways of coping with the pandemic’s effects as the sole caregiver and breadwinner for her four‐year‐old child. Her ways of dealing with this chain of severe, life‐changing events inspired us to analyse her case through Judith Butler’s feminist lens of vulnerability, conceptualised as the very source of resistance. The results of the analysis illustrate vulnerability and emergent modes of resistance as gendered responsibilities of giving and receiving care, as well as the power of solidarity. Furthermore, the study shows how the political, social and economic context of Russia shapes gendered experiences of vulnerability and possibilities for resistance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)574 - 586
JournalGender, Work and Organization
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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