Mario Cardano Dino Numerato Luigi Gariglio Jaroslava Hasmanová Marhánková Alice Scavarda Piet Bracke Ana Patrícia Hilàrio Paulina Polak

A team ethnography on vaccine hesitancy in Europe. A case study of a local truth construction



This paper focuses on the methodological conundrum of doing quick team ethnography in complex teams in a clinical setting studying childhood vaccine hesitancy. It describes how and to what extent a particular «thought style» (in Ludwik Fleck’s meaning) has developed through decisions, negotiations and disputes, producing a dialogical «local truth». It also shows how ethnographers can adapt their practice, considering day-to-day endogenous changes in fieldwork and public debate as well as exogenous ones, such as pandemics and wars. Following a compact exploration of a few sensitising concepts, referring in particular to Ludwik Fleck, Knorr-Cetina and Clifford Geertz, it explores how the complex team had worked in practice effectively while unpacking vaccine hesitancy. The paper describes three fundamental steps of this group endeavour: i) the genealogy of the birth of the team and the subsequent team-building process; ii) the illustration of how the group’s «thought collective» and interactions have produced in practice a «local truth»; iii) a reflexive stance on this particular empirical case of «method in process». The paper concludes with methodological remarks


  • vaccine hesitancy
  • rapid team ethnography
  • vaccination
  • childhood vaccine
  • qualitative health research
  • thought style
  • reflexive account
  • EU research policies


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