Culture, Structure, and Health: Narratives of Low-income Bangladeshi Migrant Workers from the United Arab Emirates

Source of Publication

Health Communication


© 2020, © 2020 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Increasingly, health scholars are paying attention to the health experiences of immigrant communities, particularly in the backdrop of the global flows of goods, services, and people across borders. In spite of the increasing public health emphasis on health outcomes of immigrants within the Middle Eastern (ME) countries, immigrant communities are often constructed as monoliths and the voices of immigrant communities are traditionally absent from mainstream health policy and program discourses. The health experiences of immigrants, their access to resources, and the health trajectories through the life-course followed by them and their descendants influence the deep-seated patterns of ethnic health disparities documented in the ME. Based on the culture-centered approach, we engaged in in-depth face-to-face interviews, and focus groups discussions with a total of 44 research participants, to understand how low-income Bangladeshi migrant workers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), who live at the borders of mainstream Arab society, define, construct, and negotiate health issues. Participants articulate in their narratives their nuanced cultural understanding of good health as a complex, holistic practice, the achievement of which is obstructed by barriers such as immigration and insurance structures. Further, they enact their agency in resource impoverished circumstances to protect their mental health and physical well-being through daily strategies and acts of resistance.

Document Type


Publication Date