Forgive Me Child for I Have Sinned: Anti-Vaxxer Folk Devil Mothers and Narratives of Redemption [thesis]

Antonella Pucci
Folk devils" is a term coined by Stanley Cohen (1972) to characterize social groups who come to be seen as threats to society. The concept has been theorized in many ways-from showcasing voiceless outsiders, to outspoken individuals defending themselves. The thesis troubles Cohen's original concept by showing an emerging folk devil narrative of redemption, examined through the case studies of two anti-vaxxer mothers who publically confess wrongdoing of their previous anti-vaccination stance.
more » ... cination stance. These acts of public confession, I show, are highly mediatized. Drawing from McAdams's (2006) theory of narrative identity, I pose critical questions of how redemption narratives not only challenge previous notions of folk devils, but also explore how they impact discourses of moral regulation. This study finds that folk devil redemption narratives illustrate identity reconstruction through the liminal state of exiting, imply self-policing mechanisms of conformity, and specifically with regard to the topic of the case studies, offer effective anecdotal strategies for vaccine promotion. iii Acknowledgements I would like to acknowledge some remarkable people who helped me complete my thesis. To my incredible supervisor, Dr. Josh Greenberg: thank you for taking interest in my thesis project since the beginning of my Master's degree and thank you for being my advisor. I sincerely appreciate your insightful feedback, helpful and caring guidance, and endless support. To my wonderful second reader, Dr. Irena Knezevic: thank you for your mentorship, insight, compassion and advice since the fourth year of my undergraduate degree when I was writing my HRE (honours research essay) with you as my second reader and thank you for your enthusiasm to work with me again on my Master's thesis project. Thank you to my amazing family and friends for always being there for me through my Master's journey. To my loving parents, Tom and Lina: thank you for supporting me throughout my postsecondary career. I couldn't have done this without your help and unconditional love. To my awesome brother, Peter: thank you for always putting a smile on my face. To my bright cousin, Michael: thank you for letting me ramble on about my thesis project and other communication related theories at family dinners. To my wonderful aunt and godmother, Rose: thank you for always listening to me and calming my anxieties about completing my Master's degree. To my best friend, Sukey: thank you for your support in attending my conference presentations, your heartwarming chats and your astounding friendship. To my MA cohort, my COMMrades and my grad school friends: thank you for your fun energy, motivation and inspiring conversations-it was fun nerding out about academia together! To the first friends I made in grad school, Maddie and Emma: thank you for always being so welcoming and kind.
doi:10.22215/etd/2018-12682 fatcat:7puhiesmqjhbxlteqyraxynt6a