Controversial Ideas 2022, 2(1), 6; doi: 10.35995/jci02010006
Alarm about Childhood Vaccinations: A Persistent Panic?
1 University of Wollongong, Australia;
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 May 2021 / Revised: 8 Mar 2022 / Accepted: 8 Mar 2022 / Published: 29 Apr 2022
Some threats to the social order, such as crime, drugs and terrorism, give rise to ongoing alarms. To understand both the alarms and their persistence, it is useful to draw on two bodies of theory. Moral panic theory addresses alarms about groups or activities that transgress social norms, proposing several characteristic features, but does not explain why a moral panic would persist. Several concepts from studies of scientific controversies, including the lack of impact of new evidence, help to explain how a moral panic might continue indefinitely. To illustrate the combined use of moral panic and controversy theory, the case study of the alarm over unvaccinated children and criticisms of childhood vaccines is used. Persistent panics potentially have several negative consequences, especially for groups targeted as causing a danger.
Keywords: moral panics; scientific controversies; vaccination
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Martin, B. Alarm about Childhood Vaccinations: A Persistent Panic? Controversial_Ideas 2022, 2, 6.
Martin B. Alarm about Childhood Vaccinations: A Persistent Panic? Journal of Controversial Ideas. 2022; 2(1):6.
Martin, Brian. 2022. "Alarm about Childhood Vaccinations: A Persistent Panic?" Controversial_Ideas 2, no. 1: 6.