In ‘The Viral Underclass,’ Steven Thrasher explores how systemic oppression puts marginalized people at greater risk of disease
On this edition of Your Call, we have a conversation with professor Steven Thrasher about his new book, The Viral Underclass: The Human Toll When Inequality And Disease Collide.
Thasher explores the unequal effects of viral pandemics and the ways in which capitalist power structures exploit and create a viral underclass. He tells the stories of human beings whose lives and bodies are subject to a manufactured vulnerability sustained by capitalism, racism and stigma.
He writes, "when we follow the virus—any virus, really—we follow the fault lines of our culture. Like all pathogens, the novel coronavirus was not a “great equalizer,” as some initially called it, but a magnifier of the divisions already present in our world. Similarly, viruses show us where the cracks in our society are; they offer a stark revelation of inequality. In times of mass crisis, those cracks get wider and more people fall into them."
Dr. Steven Thrasher, Daniel H. Renberg chair of social justice in reporting, assistant professor of journalism at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, and author of The Viral Underclass: The Human Toll When Inequality And Disease Collide
The Nation: Steven Thrasher on The Viral Underclass
Boston Globe: The virus of inequality in ‘The Viral Underclass’