Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationCalifornia, Davis, U. of
Grant numberGr. 10292
Approve DateApril 13, 2022
Project TitleDell'Oca, Marco (California, Davis, U. of) "Immunization Controversies: Vaccine hesitant knowledge ecologies after COVID-19"
Even before the COVID-19 pandemics, vaccine hesitancy had beed described as one of the most dangerous threats to global health of our times. The current pandemic has exacerbated the difference between those supporting the validity of vaccines and those against it. In the wake of COVID-19, across Europe and the US, the category of ‘anti-vaxxer’ was connected in the media to qualifiers such as ‘idiotic,’ ‘fanatic,’ ‘murderers’. Belying these categorizations, this research explores the understudied heterogeneity at the heart of vaccine hesitancy. To do so, I conduct an ethnographic study on connected groups of vaccine hesitant families based on the West Coast of the US and in Central Europe. By honing in on how a shared concern towards vaccines links in continuous conversations different people from different places, both online and offline, I draw an “ecology of knowledge practices’ aimed at characterizing the pluralism of their experiences, histories, and arguments: I want to consider how different local hesitancies at once seem to contribute to, and draw from each other’s knowledges ‘ without ever cohering into a homogeneous movement. I thus show how the complexity of this problem requires imaginative solutions and transformations in how we deal with socio-scientific controversies.