Accepted Paper:

Immunisation: consent and dissent  
Manuela Cunha (Universidade do Minho, CRIA-UMinho)

Paper short abstract:

Immunisation is now an almost universal technique of securitisation. How do individuals and groups react to its various, far-reaching implications?

Paper long abstract:

<b>Co-author: Jean-Yves Durand, Universidade do Minho, Portugal</b></br>

Extremely few people worldwide, if any, are not confronted, at some point in their life, with state-imposed (or at least sponsored) vaccination of themselves or of their children against a seemingly ever-growing range of vectors of medical insecurity. In western societies, the dominant views on immunisation are refused only by small groups of proponents of alternative immunological theories and therapeutic systems or by adepts of specific religious views. In recent African events, vaccination was seen as a potential instrument of imperialism.

Immunological theory constantly activates basic dichotomies such as inside / outside, native / alien, us / them. It epitomizes the tension between individual freedom and collective security (with limits extending well beyond that of the state), having thus provided the subjectmatter of numerous ethical debates and of some cultural critique. The actual social life of vaccination has nonetheless motivated surprinsigly few ethnographic and even less comparatist approaches, especially in so far as western societies are concerned. Preliminary findings from an ongoing project set up in various countries will aim at showing how individuals negotiate between more or less educated consent, deliberate dissent, or the passive acceptance of the norm.

Panel W021
Responses to insecurity: securitisation and its discontents