In this thesis, I show how a ubiquitous narrative of vaccination has gained traction in contemporary public discourse, affecting public health practices and our identities more broadly. Drawing on ethnographic evidence, I describe how a particular narrative of vaccination is conveyed to me through scientific reports, media, and memes. This narrative contains a specific set of representations of both non-vaccinating people and vaccination itself, and has become intimately enmeshed with many other hopes, ideals, and aspirations. This hegemonic narrative is problematized by examining a local vaccination controversy: the B.C. Influenza Prevention Policy. Different actors in this debate have rhetorically positioned their stances in light of this broader narrative surrounding vaccination. By depicting how myriad factors are entangled within stories about vaccination, I expose how this reality is socially constructed. Being cognizant of this process and the values embedded within it can help us address future vaccination controversies with greater sophistication.
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Thesis advisor: Lacombe, Dany
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