Vaccine Hesitancy and the Cultural Politics of Trust in the Dengvaxia Controversy

A Critical Discourse-Ethnographic Study of Online News Content, Producers, and Audiences


  • Karl Patrick Mendoza University of Canterbury



Vaccine Hesitancy, Trust, Dengvaxia Controversy, Philippines, Critical Discourse Analysis


Vaccine hesitancy refers to the delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccination despite vaccine availability. At its very core lies the problem of trust. Yet, there is very little research on the role of trust in vaccine hesitancy, particularly concerning its ideological dimension. This research aims to describe and explore how the online news discourse on the Dengvaxia vaccine controversy legitimizes a particular trust culture in Philippine society. For this purpose, the research adopts the theory of social trust propounded by the Polish sociologist Piotr Sztompka and links it to the study of news media using critical discourse analysis. This research is an interdisciplinary project that adopts various concepts and lenses from sociology, linguistics, media studies, and public health.

Author Biography

Karl Patrick Mendoza, University of Canterbury

Karl Patrick R. Mendoza is a Ph.D. candidate in Media and Communication at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. His work centers on the role of trust, legitimacy, and populism in health and science-related issues such as vaccination, antibiotic resistance, disasters, and climate change as these are represented in the media. He is a former senior high school teacher and college lecturer in the Philippines.


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