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    Fabianinkatu 24 (P.O. Box 4)
    00014 University of Helsinki

    Tel. +358 2 941 21735



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Venla Oikkonen

Oikkonen photoPhD (Gender Studies)

Room 326

Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies
P.O. Box 4
FIN-00014 University of Helsinki

Tel +358-(0)2941 24217
Email venla.oikkonen (AT) helsinki.fi

Research interests

  • Feminist science and technology studies
  • Biotechnologies
  • Affect
  • Intersectionality
  • Materiality

Current research

Vaccines as Technologies of Difference in the Cultural Debate about Immunization

This interdisciplinary project explores the cultural understanding of vaccines. It views vaccines as embodied technologies that organize ideas of difference such as gender, sexuality, ethnicity, class, age and disability. The hypothesis is that cultural responses to vaccines arise largely from this role of vaccines as technologies of difference. The project focuses on the cultural debate about the H1N1 ("swine flu") vaccine and narcolepsy in Finland and Sweden, and the cultural debate about the HPV vaccine and sexuality in the US and the UK. The data consists of print and online media texts written for a general audience. The methods include narrative analysis and the analysis of affective shifts and commitments. The project produces novel empirical knowledge about the role of difference in cultural responses to vaccines, engages in ambitious theory building on the connection between intersectionality, materiality and affect, and contributes to the development of vaccine communication.