Student Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

B.A. with honors

Honors Designation


Program of Study




First Advisor

Corey Mead

Second Advisor

Robin Root

Third Advisor

Gregory Snyder


Through a positivistic and phenomenological approach, the study examines social determinants of COVID-19 related sickness and suffering in the Bronx, New York City, New York, ZIP codes 10462, 10472, 10467, 10458, 10474, and 10464. I utilize a violence paradigm (structural and everyday violence) to describe the social determinants of risk and sickness-related suffering and deploy an assemblage framework to shed light on how these determinants create negative synergies that undermine wellbeing and render certain communities vulnerable to extreme suffering. The mixed methods include 64 surveys and eight interviews. Analysis methods include a descriptive analysis of survey results and a thematic analysis of qualitative interviews. From environmental pollution to low access to nutritious foods, healthy lifestyles become inaccessible, leading to many chronic diseases that precipitate vulnerability to COVID-19 infection and potentially worse outcomes. Factors such as language barriers, stigmatization of those diagnosed with COVID-19, and culturally insensitive healthcare delivery discourage many immigrants from adhering to COVID-19 safety precautions. Lower-socioeconomic status axiology is primarily shaped by poverty and survival; due to city government neglect, following public health rules often requires sacrificing basic necessities. The framework of social distancing, sanitizing, and quarantining prescribed to limit the transmission of COVID-19 is a template based on upper-class ontology and does not consider the social and economic nuances that exist for marginalized populations. To improve health in the Bronx, a culturally relative lens must be used to recognize the political-economic and social systems that have systematically deprived communities of color multi-generationally. COVID relief must be drafted with a lens of reparations.


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