Vaccination and the Public in the 21st Century
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Understanding contemporary vaccination controversy demands sensitive attention to the meaning of scientific evidence i the public sphere. Approaching vaccine skepticism from a rhetorical perspective reveals how vaccination controversy is embedded in its historical context, is responsive to various trends in both medicine and the law, and is not simply the result of scientific illiteracy. This talk will focus on a few specific vaccination controversies in order to highlight how ordinary people on both sides of the issue make decisions about vaccination and represent their own reasoning as deliberative and embedded in their values and world views. The talk may touch on the effect of inflammatory news reporting about vaccination and disease outbreaks on public understanding of the controversy and its possible solutions.