Dependents and Deviants: The Social Construction of Mandatory HPV Policies

Dependents and Deviants: The Social Construction of Mandatory HPV Policies

Leigh Nanney Hersey (University of Louisiana at Monroe, USA)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 27
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6133-0.ch007

Abstract

Forty-two states have considered a mandatory vaccination for school-age girls, but the proposed legislation is most often met with hostility and it rarely succeeds. Using newspaper articles from Arizona, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Texas, and Virginia during these legislative sessions, narrative analysis is used to find common themes in the debate, including a medical/clinical approach, “government to the rescue,” individual cost constraint/access issues, logical narrative, sexuality/morality issues, parental rights, vaccination ethics, skepticism, and negative assumptions toward African-American girls. Using Schneider and Ingram's social construction theory, further discussion points to a better understanding of the target populations of this public policy. In reviewing this health policy debate, it is suggested that considerations go beyond the perceived health benefits of the policy and spill over into the civil and social welfare rights of the legislation.
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Policy Discussion

A number of controversies arose during these policy discussions. Many of the controversies were based on the past inequities of healthcare in the United States. This section outlines the historical context that led to differing opinions on the approach to mandatory HPV vaccination. The primary issues revolved around women and health care, race and health care, and concerns about vaccinations in general. Understanding the context behind these issues helps understand why certain debates are prominent when discussing the policy.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Advantaged: In social construction, a target group that has political power and is generally thought of in a positive way.

Contenders: In social construction, a target group that has political power, but is not generally thought of in a positive way.

Deviants: In social construction, a target group that has limited political power and are generally through of in a negative way.

Dependents: In social construction, a target group that has limited political power, but are generally thought of in a positive way.

Social Construction: A policy design framework that examines the target populations of policy.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV): A strain of viruses that are sexually transmitted. While most pass through the system with no effects, some lead to cervical cancer.

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