Call for papers: Public discourses on vaccination: communities, practices, subjectivities

We invite articles, research notes, essays and book reviews that discuss how public discourses on vaccination are shaped and structured at the intersection of scientific rationalities, social institutions, cultural imaginaries, and political ideologies. We welcome texts from multiple disciplines and genres.

Deadline for manuscript submissions: October 9th, 2021

Send manuscripts at

Public discourses on vaccination produce social norms through their rhetorical and performative nature. Therefore, they shape the relation between citizens and democratic institutions, while expanding the space of political capitalism and its associated cultural manifestations. The situation brought about by the pandemic indicates that vaccines are not simple immunization tools or neutral outcomes of medical advancement, but active cultural objects that shape complex relations between knowledge, subjectivities and power.

Papers may address questions such as (but not limited to):

  1. What is changing and what is stable in vaccine-skeptical and vaccine-confident discourses and social movements in the Covid-19 pandemic context? What are the main drivers of vaccine hesitancy and vaccine confidence in various cultures and social spaces?
  2. What kinds of epistemic communities are consolidated around discourses on vaccination? How do experts’ voices, personal narratives, media reports, and academic studies function as sites of knowledge production within different communities of practice? How do these communities become powerful social actors that shape the public agenda?
  3. What methods of inquiry are used to produce knowledge about vaccines in scientific, pseudoscientific and antiscientific communities? What roles do institutional norms play in legitimizing the knowledge about vaccination in its various forms? How does a general understanding of health and illness take shape through discourses on vaccination?
  4. How do (pro- or anti-) vaccination advertising campaigns rely on visual forms, symbols and signs to enforce and reinforce belief systems? How is a philosophy of healthy citizenship produced through multiple and competing discourses distributed across public and private media landscapes? How do targeted audiences understand and perceive the messages of governmental campaigns that encourage vaccination?
  5. How do people internalize a discourse on vaccination to make sense of their health status? How do various discourses on vaccination produce subjectivities and identities that are instrumental in the government of individual actions and behaviors? How does the discursive construction of the “(un)vaccinated person” shape moral subjectivities and define people’s identities in relation to their bodies?
  6. How does a policy of public health transform the state apparatus of government, and how does a commitment to collective immunization reconfigure the boundary between private and public realms? What kind of challenges do policymakers and health professionals face in an ever-changing world characterized by conflict, controversy and polarization? What role do scientists play in advocating for vaccination within authoritative and trustworthy frameworks?
  7. What kind of assumptions underline different legal and regulatory frameworks for vaccination, and how do they reflect notions of safety, freedom, and public good? What kind of ideological messages are mobilized in the political rhetoric of vaccination, and how do they structure power relations by addressing issues of personal choice, collective responsibility, human rights, etc.?

We invite long papers (6000-9000 words) or short papers (3000-6000 words), in accordance with Guidelines for authors.