P087
The politics of vaccination: affect, rationality and power

Convenors:
Bernhard Hadolt (University of Vienna)
Andrea Stockl (University of East Anglia)
Stream:
Panels
Location:
U6-1D
Start time:
23 July, 2016 at 9:00
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

The panel analyses the entanglement of affect, claims of rationality and power as emergent in vaccination regimes. It does so along three strands of issues: the politics of the gap between emotion and rationality, the interplay of biopolitics and geopolitics in global health, and the self and other.

Long abstract:

Ever since the discovery of immunity and vaccines, the implementation of vaccination programmes has been a powerful tool for controlling the health of populations and by thus populations themselves. Vaccination certainly has improved the health status of many, but also has been met with tremendous criticisms concerning side effects, questionable efficacy and hidden agendas of health authorities. Heated public debates were often framed in terms of rationality and emotionality. Ethnographic research on the politics of vaccination has shown that there are at least three strands of anthropological issues that need to be taken into account in order to better understand the entanglement of affect, claims of rationality and power as emergent in vaccination regimes: • the politics of the gap between emotion and rationality: Why should decision making about health care be solely be based on rational appraisals and free from emotion and affect? Why is there such a strong ideology about leaving out affect in decision making? • the interplay of biopolitics and geopolitics in global health: How are vaccination regimes shaped by geopolitical forces? Why is vaccination seen as intrusive, why is it taken as a battle field against new and old forms of colonialism? • The self and other: To what extent has vaccination become a site for debates about care of the self and responsibility towards others and society? We particularly invite proposals that address questions such as the above on the basis of empirical case studies.