Anti-science populism or biomedicine’s unresolved knots? Comparing perspectives on the movements against mandatory paediatric vaccines
Are you already subscribed? Login to check
whether this content is already included on your personal or institutional subscription.
Within the public debate, the interpretation of the movements which
have recently mobilized in Italy against the extension of mandatory
paediatric vaccines has largely recovered quite obsolete and overcome
models, as regards the relationship between science and society, as well as on a socio-political plan. Protests have been conceived as mere
demonstrations of ignorance and refusal of scientific knowledge, thus
being assimilated with populism and conspiracy theories while their
demands have not been considered worth of any attention, let alone
answers. The article moves between the Sociology of science and the
Political sociology, relying both on quantitative data on participants to
national demonstrations and on qualitative analysis based on a local
case-study. Results challenge the reliability of those perspectives and
propose an articulated and more nuanced insight of these movements.
The proposed interpretation locates them in continuity with the trends
which are reshaping the patterns of citizenship while at the same
time relating them to some relevant knots deriving from the difficult
coexistence between Western modern biomedicine and post-modernism.
The analysis sheds new light on the apparent difficulty in resolving this
controversy and on the necessity to elaborate new strategies of inclusion,
and not only of communication, in order to face this complex issue.