Posted by C3W Admin on November 18 2021
An Elderly Gentleman of Vicenza: Using the Life History method in oral history for a deeper understanding of a person’s experience of common childhood disease in Northern Italy
Power of habits? Vaccination campaigns in post-war Poland and understanding the relationship between state and society in authoritarian regimes
Vaccination campaigns, seen not only as public health issue, but also through the angle of political and social history reveal interesting power dynamics. Examining relations built around them creates an opportunity of providing fresh insights for contemporary historical research. In this respect, combining perspectives and triangulating sources seems to be especially valuable.
The panel approaches vaccination campaigns as simultaneously: 1) a part of state politics as expressed in policy informed by public health institutions; 2) a matter of actual lived experience of those at the receiving end of public health policies.
As a methodology, combining perspectives and triangulating materials represents a way to a richer analysis, for it requires using different types of sources, including “the voices from below” collected in oral history interviews to members of the general public. When coupled with the Life History method, these can offer interesting insights into the cultural and social significance of disease – for example, those childhood diseases that are targeted in vaccination policies – in people’s everyday living.
Exploring the intersection of the two domains provides the opportunity to discuss dynamics emerging on a basis on the vaccination programmes and their wider socio-political context. Consequently, it triggers the question, in what ways exploring vaccination campaigns has the potential to enrich our understanding of the state/general public nexus in both democracies and autocracies.