Communication & Medicine, Vol 8, No 3 (2011)

To vaccinate or not? The disqualification of commercial sources of health advice in an online forum

Agnès Vayreda, Charles Antaki
Issued Date: 29 Jun 2012

Abstract


Public health debates in online forums allow the emergence of ordinary practical reasoning about 'official' health information. We used a Discursive Psychology approach to analyse postings in a forum devoted to the discussion of the H1N1 (Swine flu) virus. We identify the discursive practices that contributors use to valorise certain elements in the debate (what they cast as science, rationality and 'proper' scepticism) over others (especially commercial interests, 'charlatanism' and 'profiteering'). A forum participant can be disqualified on the basis of their alleged partiality and interest, if they can be accused of having a commercial stake in the matter. But no such opprobrium results if they have a 'scientific' interest.

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DOI: 10.1558/cam.v8i3.273

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