'Evan is my Science': Autism, Vaccines and Postmodern Medicine
thesisposted on 2012-12-10, 00:00 authored by Ellen J. Defossez
This project situates the Autism-Vaccine Controversy within the larger theoretical context of postmodern medicine. The texts of two prominent figures from within the Autism-Vaccine Controversy were rhetorically analyzed using Kenneth Burke’s method of cluster criticism. The benefits of this approach are two-fold. First, the Autism-Vaccine Controversy is approached holistically rather than in piecemeal fashion (as is seen in the scholarly literature on the subject) and second, the hitherto abstract theory of postmodern medicine is enriched and concretized through the exploration of a specific, illustrative case study. The overarching aim is to generate new insights into both the Autism-Vaccine Controversy and the theory of postmodern medicine. The project draws several main conclusions. First, the feeling of voice marginalization is common to both patients and physicians, but for differing reasons and in differing contexts. Second, there is a dissonance in views between patients and physicians regarding who should be able to participate in the production of medically- oriented knowledge, and where to locate responsibility for the securing of public health. Lastly, the commercialization has intensified a bi-directional lack of trust between patients and physicians.