A Health-Based Focus: Shifting state relationships and what it means to be a responsible
citizen during COVID-19
This thesis examines health promotion discourse in Ottawa during the COVID-19 pandemic to explore what it means to be a responsible citizen. Using press releases and tweets from January 2020 to November 2022 from city officials and city departments in Ottawa, this thesis employed critical discourse analysis (CDA) to explore potential changes in health promotion discourse and meaning-making, asking how citizenship was remade in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings support claims that health is becoming increasingly neoliberalized, with a greater emphasis placed on individual health as a condition of responsible citizenship. This increased neoliberalization ultimately shifts our attention away from state responsibilities vis-à-vis citizens, and in this case the neglected role of local governments in managing health crises.
Keywords: COVID-19, Neoliberalism, Biological Citizenship, Responsible Citizenship, Health Promotion.