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Vying for credibility in the US Congress

Legitimating symbols in the debate over immunization and autism

Maya Ponte

Throughout the debate in the United States Congress over whether vaccines cause autism, legitimizing symbols that index cultural values have played a prominent role in the establishment of credibility. While both sides sanctify the role of science in producing credibility, they draw on different images of what science is and where its legitimacy stems from. Those who favor the vaccine hypothesis frame science as a populist endeavor, the results of which are open to critique by all. Those against the vaccine hypothesis frame science as an elitist endeavor, the results of which may only be critiqued by fellow scientists. While both of these images derive their significance from the cultural history of the United States, they have a markedly different impact on the interpretation of evidence. From within the populist frame, personal experience and direct observation are highly valued. From within the elitist frame, epidemiological evidence trumps personal experience. Due to the incorporation of dueling images of science, the US debate over autism may be viewed as a debate between rival cultural values.

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Harlan Koff and Carmen Maganda

. Many people clamor for a return to “normal.” With the announcement in November 2020 that vaccine tests have shown promising results, it seems that a medical solution to the health pandemic could be a defining feature of the first few months of 2021

Open access

Julia Ros-Cuéllar, Harlan Koff, Carmen Maganda, and Edith Kauffer

April 2021 is here, one year and a month after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a state of emergency for the COVID-19 pandemic. The vaccines have arrived, bringing us closer to the end of this crisis, but COVID-19 is not gone

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Lisa Lindén

This article investigates direct-to-consumer advertising in Sweden for Gardasil, the HPV vaccine, as a contemporary gendered technology of the adolescent girl body. It explores how, by constructing girls as ideal users of the vaccine, advertising campaigns encourage adolescent girls to vaccinate themselves. Using a feminist visual discourse analysis, the article examines how different girl subjectivities are constructed through advertising, and presented as fit for Gardasil use and consumption. It highlights how, along with their parents, adolescent girls in Sweden are encouraged to assume responsibility for managing the risks of cervical cancer in order to help secure their future health, sexuality and normality. It argues that the Gardasil campaign, in being addressed to individual members of the population, serves to articulate global and national discourses of girlhood, sexuality, (sexual) health responsibility, risk management and consumption.

Open access

Covidiots and the Clamour of the Virus-as-Question

Some Reflections on Biomedical Culture, Futurity and Finitude

Bryan Lim

along at a manageable level until … there is a vaccine or cure’ ( Lichfield 2020 ). Constantly told that our ‘new normal’ will involve varying degrees of social distancing until a vaccine is available, the vision of futurity we are asked to pay obeisance

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Administering Vaccination in Interwar Algeria

Medical Auxiliaries, Smallpox, and the Colonial State in the Communes mixtes

Hannah-Louise Clark

resources nor a sufficient supply of vaccine to enforce the 1907 decree. 14 It was not until after the First World War that public health crises in combination with long-standing racialized fears of contagion and the objective of mise en valeur prompted

Open access

COVID-19 and Uncertain Intimacy

State–Society Relations in Urban China and Beyond

Jialing Luo

, where the coronavirus first emerged, was lifted, 76 days after it began on 23 January. With a vaccine and specific medicines still unavailable, these milestones in what China describes as a ‘people's war’ against COVID-19 were reached largely through the

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Shobita Parthasarathy

. There is growing concern that COVID-19 treatments and vaccines will be priced out of reach for many, despite their importance for public health and economic recovery. Consider the case of remdesivir, a promising COVID-19 treatment developed with the help

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Engaging Anthropology in an Ebola Outbreak

Case Studies from West Africa

Emilie Venables and Umberto Pellecchia

treatment or vaccine for Ebola – or even a high level of care and palliative care in some cases – make case investigation and contact tracing fundamental cornerstones of the intervention in an unprecedented global health emergency such as this one. A vaccine

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Andrew Dawson and Simone Dennis

declared a COVID-19 pandemic. At the time of writing in September 2020, the WHO reported that there was no proven vaccine and there were over 33 million cases globally. And, with no proven treatments at hand either, it said that there were over 1 million