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Ableism in the Anti-Vaccination Movement: A Qualitative Content Analysis of the Great Mothers Facebook Page
January 23rd, 2013 by Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg

I’ve posted my paper on ableism in the anti-vaccination movement under Academic Work on my sidebar. You can find the link here. Following is the introduction to the paper:

In U.S. culture, visual and textual representations perpetuate the ideology of ableism, a set of perspectives and practices that make the able body the epitome of human worth. Like other forms of prejudice, ableism permeates our culture and rests on a number of distortions and largely uncritiqued assumptions. For this paper, I will look at the ways in which ableism is embedded in the anti-vaccination movement. I will do so by carrying out a qualitative content analysis of an anti-vaccination Facebook page called Great Mothers (and Others) Questioning Vaccines. In the course of the paper, I will show that the following ableist assumptions emerge from the Great Mothers page: disability is simply a medical issue; disability is a human tragedy; disabled people are passive victims; the able body is perfect; one should both ignore and stare at disabled people; disability is a story about individuals, but never about the society that creates disabling barriers; disabled bodies are economic and social burdens; and someone or something must be to blame for disability.

In this paper, I will begin by describing the methodology I will use for the content analysis. Then, in order to make clear the theoretical framework for my analysis, I will outline my core assumptions. From that point forward, I will devote a separate section to each of the themes about disability and the body that emerge from the Great Mothers page.

© 2013 by Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg


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