I've been struggling, for the last few weeks, to re-frame my interpretation of my data. I am exceedingly comfortable being a critic. Why something is wrong or perverse, these are easy for me to point to, but explaining why something might have meaning or be positive, that's far more difficult. I need to integrate the positive into my own work, as the organizations I tried to work with were quite enthusiastic about the vaccine and its availability. All I could see were the flaws and limitations of the vaccine, making it uncomfortable for me to work with the groups who wanted to promote the vaccine. It does beg the question: why did I keep working with people who want to promote it? I suppose part of it is circumstantial -- there aren't clear-cut anti-vaccinators. They tend to be mixed in with the more general anti-vaccine people -- people with whom I did do work. Part of the issue is the way that the identifications with certain beliefs and practices do not hew along clear lines. In fact, that is one of the things I intend to write about, how this vaccine falls apart when you try to hold it along more traditional vaccination definitions and categories.
At a recent cancer survivor support meeting, held by one of the groups I tried to work with, I encountered a mother whose 19 year old daughter had been diagnosed with cervical cancer. It reminded me that this vaccine, though not directly beneficial to these women who were so enthusiastic about it, is not "all bad". It's just awfully hard to figure out how to imagine it as problematic. The best I can write is a lukewarm appraisal of how it is not the worst thing. Faint praise does not really seem compelling, and yet, it has meaning to some people, and I have not tapped into that sufficiently.