Publication details

Gift, purchase or mask diplomacy? Hesitant reception of China’s face masks during the first COVID-19 wave in Czech public discourse



Year of publication 2024
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Journal of Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Keywords gift; mask diplomacy; pastoral care; discourse analysis; Covid-19
Attached files
Description What occurs when a purchase is labelled as a gift by the supplier? This paper aims to unveil the dynamics of power relations enveloping gift exchange and monetary transactions in modern economies. It examines the public media discourse around the presentation and reception of surgical face masks from The People’s Republic of China, described as a paid-for gift, during the initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Using Foucauldian Discourse Analysis of dominant online media in the Czech Republic, the article illustrates the public’s understanding of the implicit meanings and commitments associated with a gift. It also explores the enduring sensitivity to economic relationships formed through gift exchange between two modern societies. The interplay of the spirit of the gift, mask diplomacy, pastoral care, and the varying acceptance or resistance to these concepts are central to our analysis. Furthermore, the paper delves into the strategies used by recipients to resist such influences, both internationally and in personal resistance against domestic governance.

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