The HPV Vaccination Campaign: A Project of Moral Regulation in an Era of Biopolitics

Erin Connell


This article examines the Canadian human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination campaign in order to analyze the ways in which HPV and the threat of cervical cancer are framed as well as the individual risk management strategies that are made available to mothers and their daughters. The authors argue that the HPV campaign is illustrative of the moralization of health, a convergence of the regulatory discourses of moralization and medicalization in an era of bio-politics. Significantly, these discourses are put into play by a complex professional alliance that is mobilized by the extensive resources of the pharmaceutical industry. The convergence of both medical and market interests responsibilizes parents, specifically mothers, as well as schools, resulting in a vaccination program that verges on one that is mandatory. As such, HPV and cer-vical cancer prevention discourses constitute a moral regulation project directed at the regulation of the bodies of young women.


human papillomavirus (HPV); vaccination campaign; biopolitics; moral regulation; health panic; young women

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