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This paper explores the nature of food and plants and their meanings in a British Bengali urban context. It focuses on the nature of plants and food in terms of their role in home making, transnational connections, generational change and concepts of health. An ethnographic approach to the research was taken, specific methods included participant observation, focus group discussions and semi-structured interviews. This role, however, changes and is re-defined across generations. However, there appeared to be little two-way dialogue about this concept between the research participants and health professionals. In summary, this paper argues that while food is critical to the familial spaces of home both locally and globally , it is defined by a complex interplay of actors and wider meanings as illustrated by concepts of health and what constitutes Bengali food. Therefore, we call for greater dialogue between health professionals and those they interact with, to allow for an enhanced appreciation of the dynamic nature of food and plants and the diverse perceptions of the role that they play in promoting health.
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EPUB Reader. Manipuri Calendar Complete Reference for DnD 5. Daily GK Kananda English Health Tips Telugu Chitkalu. Missing often from this dominant thread of health communication are the local cultural contexts of immigrant communities [ 21 , 22 , 23 ]. In configuring immigrants as passive recipients of health messaging, the agentic capacities of immigrants are erased.
Also absent from dominant health communication theorizing are the voices of local communities of immigrants, their lived experiences, and their negotiations of health.
Moreover, the individualistic health communication frameworks often fail to take into account the broader political economy of immigrant life [ 20 , 24 , 25 ]. Migrant workers from Bangladesh working in the construction industry in Singapore form a part of this global flow of labour, negotiating their health amid global structures of flows of capital and labour [ 25 , 26 , 27 ]. In this manuscript, I apply the theoretical framework of the culture-centered approach CCA to listen to the voices of migrant construction workers in Singapore, focusing on the articulations of health, risk, and safety in the realms of construction work [ 20 , 23 , 25 ].
The concepts of culture, structure, and agency are offered as conceptual anchors for foregrounding local meanings of risk and safety in construction work. The voices of the workers presented in this manuscript attend to the structures that constitute everyday experiences of construction work, the threats to health and safety as understood by construction workers, and the potential solutions to risks at workplace that are suggested by construction workers.
Rather than suggesting behavior change in the form of individual-level solutions that are typically recommended in workplace safety communication interventions, the voices of the participants articulate anchors for structural transformations that attend to the contextual features of construction work. Workplace Safety, Health and Communication The dominant approach to workplace safety in the health communication literature conceptualizes health as individualized responsibility, developing workplace safety programs and training interventions directed at promoting safety practices [ 8 , 10 , 20 ].
The overarching theoretical framework informing workplace safety interventions is driven by the impetus to create effective health promotion messages that would promote healthy behaviors in workplaces. The emphasis is placed on deciphering the appropriate communication strategies that would effectively persuade the audience of workers to practice safe workplace practices.
In this backdrop of the dominant framework of workplace safety communication, the culture-centered approach CCA offers an entry point for exploring the ways in which local contexts shape the everyday experiences of risks among construction workers, and the lived experiences of workers with these risks [ 22 , 23 ]. Culture-Centered Approach Health is constituted in the everyday meanings individuals and communities make of health, embedded within local contexts and in the cultural formations of community life [ 15 , 16 , 17 ].
Conceptualizing culture as dynamic, fragmented, and ever-transforming, the CCA foregrounds meanings as entry points for the constructions of health and wellbeing [ 15 , 24 , 25 , 26 ]. The CCA proposes that cultural contexts are anchors for understanding how health risks are understood, how they are made sense of, and the ways in which they are negotiated by community members [ 27 , 28 , 29 , 30 ].
Based on a dialogic approach to culture and community life, it suggests that the theorizing of health needs to be embedded within sense-making processes of local communities, developing entry points for solutions to health risks that are embedded in the everyday negotiations of structures, resources, and contexts [ 17 ].
Meanings of health and health risks are located at the intersections of culture, structure, and agency [ 27 ]. Culture is a complex web of shared practices, beliefs, and values that offers the anchor for interpretive frames. Meanings draw upon cultural resources and in turn, shape the ways in which cultural scripts are constructed and reproduced. Structure refers to the material realities that constrain and enable human action, depicting the distribution of resources within social systems [ 16 , 17 ].
Agency reflects the capacity of community members to make sense of structures and to negotiate these structures, drawing on cultural scripts and interpretive frames that are meaningful to them. The intersections of culture, structure, and agency depict the constraints and challenges to health experienced by community members, their sense-making processes in understanding these structures, and their day-to-day practices of negotiating these structures.
This article draws from the CCA and co-constructs [ 25 , 26 ] meanings of health with Bangladeshi construction workers, attending to the ways in which these workers make sense of these risks in their everyday lives. Singapore has grown increasing reliant on immigrant labor in the last 15 years, with the number of foreign workers almost doubling between and [ 31 , 32 ].
It houses , laborers working in the construction sector alone in December [ 33 ]. The Singapore government is a major consumer of construction services through public housing development—over 17, flats were built in alone SDS, Foreign workers are hired under a Work Permit WP , which is granted to foreigners who wish to work in Singapore.
Employers in Singapore are required by law to meet several conditions in hiring foreign workers. One of the conditions is that employers must foot a monthly levy per unskilled worker. With regard to the health and wellbeing of the migrant workers, the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act states that employers must fulfill requisites such as ensuring healthy and safe working conditions, paying for initial medical examinations, bearing the cost of medical treatments when the worker falls sick or is injured, and downloading and maintaining individual medical insurance MOM, The Act also clearly disallows employers from passing on health care costs and other employer financial obligations on to the foreign employees.
Materials and Methods The article draws on 60 ethnographic in-depth interviews out of a total of interviews, only selecting those in-depth interviews that voiced risks of injury at construction work conducted with Bangladeshi construction workers in Singapore, part of a broader ongoing culture-centered ethnographic project that was initiated in and that resulted in an advocacy campaign on worker rights in — The construction workers who participated in the project were selected through the snowball sampling strategy and reflect a variety of subsectors e.
The in-depth interviews ranged from 40 min to two hours in length, with an average interview being 55 min in length. The interviews were conducted in Bengali and then translated into English. The in-depth interviews that this paper draws on resulted in pages of single-spaced transcripts. In addition to the in-depth interviews, I conducted participant observations at public spaces where Bangladeshi construction workers hang out, spending time in Little India space in Singapore where migrant workers gather, especially on their day off on Sundays , attending performances put together by migrant workers, accompanying migrant workers during their visits to run errands, accompanying migrant workers during visits to doctors, and coordinating broader discussions with migrant workers as part of the larger culture-centered project driven toward identifying problems and developing solutions.
The narratives shared by the participants in the project point toward the structural contexts of migrant construction work, and the threats to health and safety that are constituted amid these structures.
In this article, I will share snippets from these conversations to elucidate the interplays of structure and agency in articulations of migrant worker health, wellbeing and safety within the broader ambits of construction work. Results The narratives shared by the participants point toward their everyday struggles for negotiating health amid the structures of migrant construction work.
The everyday meanings of health are situated amid the local cultural understandings of food, culturally embedded meanings of and approaches to health, and the structures of construction work that shape the distribution of resources. In sharing their experiences with structures, participants point toward the profit-driven framework of the structures that often directly threaten human health and wellbeing. Moreover, participants share their strategies of everyday enactments of agency.
Health and Workplace Injuries Health is constituted in the ambits of the everyday risks of doing construction work. For many workers, workplace injuries are salient in their lives in the construction industry.
You know that these things happen. I was trying to hurry. I know this happens to you if you are working in this industry. When I am working at height, there is always the chance of fall. The structure of construction work constitutes the sense of inevitability that is articulated in a narrative of religiosity.
Similarly, Bashir shares: I know that I have to do this kind of work. It is tough. I know it is difficult and there are risks in the different things I do. If I just worried about how difficult the work is, or what the risks are, I would not be able to do the work. I would be scared, and try to avoid it. But my family needs the money. So I have to do this work. I am making the money and sending home every month. This notion of not really thinking about the risks of work is shared by a number of participants.
Note in these narratives shared by the participants the ways in which they understand risks to health and safety as part of their everyday lives, pointing to the overarching structural context of deprivation and familial needs within which they voice not really thinking about the risks of work. The cultural articulation of familial ties and family needs as the reason for work shapes the meanings of inevitability the workers construct around workplace risks.
I took a big loan, my wife put all her jewellery for mortgage to get loan. So now I just have to do the work. At the same time, participants share that workplace injuries are life events that can transform their lives and push them into immobility.
They share stories of co-workers who have been killed in workplace accidents. I was going with my work. And then this sound. He had fallen. When things like this happen, they change everything. I know this can happen to me. Some are life threatening. One time, Robin, he was working right in the next station, and then some friends came and said, he has been crushed by the cement mixer. I ran.
He was dead by then. You just know that they can happen. Participants note how injuries at work are significant threats to their health, livelihoods, and economic mobilities of their families.
Workplace Injuries and Health Seeking For a number of participants in this ethnographic project, workplace injuries present challenges in the realm of seeking treatment, after care, and securing adequate medical leave. The supervisor gave some first aid and then said it will be alright. Then that night, it swelled. I did not know where to go for treatment.
The supervisor said it will become better, just give it some time. For a number of participants, the supervisor ignored the injury and asked the worker to get back to work. Also participants noted the ways in which the limited access to health information about health resources and where to locate them shaped their inability to seek out treatment after an injury. I had to be in rest, and could not go to work. Did not get my salary for those days.
Having a workplace injury meant the inability to earn money, which translated into a weakened ability to send money back home to family. So no matter what, I just let it get better a little and went back [to work]. The physical threats to health posed by workplace injuries translate into worries about what would happen to their economic condition and to their ability to return the debt or take care of their families. This means that in spite of their injuries, workers often go back to work just to earn the money needed to support their families.
The culturally-situated articulations of familial responsibility shape the ways in which the workers experience workplace injuries. Although existing policy frameworks dictate that workers qualify for medical leaves when injured, a number of participants discussed the ways in which the doctors the company arranged them to see were reluctant to issue medical certificate as that would mean less money for the company.
A number of participants felt that company-assigned doctors often worked in collusion with the company. In other words, not being aware of the healthcare infrastructure in Singapore, they often did not know where to go to or how to navigate the structure. The doctor was no good, just gave me a bandage and no MC [referring to medical certificate]. I did not know anyone else. I went back to work the next day, and my finger was still hurting.
Efficiency and Workplace Risk The experiences of workplace injuries are constituted in the backdrop of the risks that are built into workplaces in Singapore. Participants share that the risks to their everyday health and safety are often posed by the productivity and efficiency demands experienced in the construction industry.
Then think about all the time pressure that shapes the work we do. There are volumes that need to be met. Certain number of things that we need to finish by a date. There are project deadlines. The boss needs to deliver a set of complete jobs by this date. Then the boss pushes everyone to meet that target. So there is that pressure to get the work done. That means get as much out with as little number of workers and as little time.
So there is always a push for the numbers. So the supervisor is always trying to meet the deadlines. Yelling at the workers to get moving quickly. To get all the things done. And there is no time. So it is easy to miss something. Or to have an accident. Because I am thinking, I need to get this, this, and this done. I have a lot of tension on my mind. I am trying to get all the things done.
The point shared by Babu suggests that taking care of the assigned tasks in the limited timeframe increases the risks of injury. Worth noting in the narrative is the voicing of risk tied to the errors made amidst the time and productivity pressures at work.
Further elaborating on the discourses of productivity, participants note the ways in which the overarching discourse governing their work is of performance, meeting the targets that have been established. They are set very high. So you are always pushing, pushing, pushing just to meet the target. Then all you are thinking about is the target. Given the precarious nature of construction work and the uncertainties tied to work, the pressures of performance translate into the risks workers take in getting the job done in a timely fashion, meeting the pre-established deadlines.
Food Insecurity, Fatigue, and Workplace Safety Moreover, participants noted their everyday lives as risks to health and threats to workplace safety. To do such work as he did at the construction sites, often lifting heavy weight and carrying the weight for distances, called for him to have enough physical strength, which in turn, he derived from eating adequate food. I work long hours, and by the time I get back, the food that is catered is already stale. This for many participants led to injuries in workplaces, producing fatigue on the job.
I feel tired. And because I am tired, I am going to make some error on the job. This is hard work. I feel very tired and then worry that I am going to fall or have an accident.
My stomach is empty. Bangladeshi construction workers in Singapore often live in dormitories, and this shapes the overarching context of inaccess to food. While there are a wide range of dormitories in Singapore, in most of these dormitories, there are no cooking facilities. As a result, most of the workers receive food from catering agencies. There are a range of catering agencies that operate in Singapore, and the extent of regulation of catering agencies varies.
Whereas some of the catering agencies are licensed, there are also a number of catering agencies that are not licensed. Workers typically learn about and sign up for catering agencies through middle men, who can be other more senior workers, security and other personnel at the dormitory, or colleagues through workplaces.
There is no facility to cook own food. So I will have to depend on the catering company. Even though the quality of the food delivered by the catering company is of poor quality, I have no other choice. It just gets something to the workers. As a result, the cooked food often goes stale. Shares Gholam: The food is so unhealthy that it can get you sick. There are many times I have had to take a medical certificate MC for a leave because I have gotten sick from eating the food.
One time, it was stale. I knew it when I ate it. But I was so hungry that I ate it. Later it made me sick. It is delivered in the dorm at 5 a. So many times I just skipped the meal because the food had gone bad. The story of food that has gone bad is shared by a number of participants. The poor quality of food emerges as a consistent theme in participant narratives of health, situating food within their cultural contexts and depicting the structures of the dormitories and catering companies that limit their access to healthy food.
The sense of food insecurity then is tied to articulations of fatigue. Notes Mahmood: I have not eaten proper food for many days. You look at this food. It has gone bad. How can you expect workers to eat this food and still carry on with work? I am very tired most of the time. This makes me make mistakes at work.
The storying of lack of access to quality food is tied to experiences of poor health and fatigue shared by workers. Moreover, experiences of poor health and fatigue are tied to risks of workplace injuries.
The centrality of food in the narratives voiced by the participants reflects the broader cultural constructions of food in Bangladesh. Moreover, given the importance placed on food, having access to culturally appropriate food emerges as a risk for workplace injuries. Lack of Sleep and Fatigue Yet another source of fatigue shared by the participants is the lack of sleep.
For a number of participants living in dorms far away from the construction sites where they work translates into having to wake up early in the morning often between a. The sites of work are in many instances between half-hour to 40 min away from the dorms, depending on the traffic.