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  • 2016HanburyPhD

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Life-saving or life-limiting?: Young women’s experiences of the HPV vaccination programme

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Published
Publication date2016
Number of pages293
QualificationPhD
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
Publisher
  • Lancaster University
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Taking inspiration from my professional youth and community work background, I merge this professional scholarship (Batsleer and Davies, 2010; Batsleer, 2013; Bradford and Cullen, 2012; Packham, 2000) with that on contemporary feminism (McRobbie, 2009; Ryan-Flood and Gill, 2010; Penny, 2014; Gill and Scharff, 2013; Dubriwny, 2013) and young sexualities (Holland, Ramazanoğlu, Sharpe and Thomson, 2004; Renold, 2005; Jackson, Paetcher and Renold, 2010; Robinson, 2012). In so doing, this research project is a political feminist case study exploring the construction of young women’s sexuality in the UK through the development and delivery of a new vaccination, the Human Papillomavirus Vaccination. I interrogate the HPV vaccination programme as a feminist issue and ask; what are the diverse ways in which feminists can support, engage with, and critique the HPV vaccination programme? Methodologically I use a feminist activist lens which values and foregrounds women’s knowledge and expertise about their own bodies. A participatory orientation (Eubanks, 2009) to research was employed and based upon research conversations, ethnographic observations, young women’s diaries and analysis of documents I explore how young women’s sexualities are constructed and practiced through the HPV vaccination programme. The thesis argues that the HPV vaccine and programme contributes to the articulation of the ways in which healthcare, education and the pharmaceuticalisation of young women’s health anticipate and conjure a version of successful and appropriate (normative) femininity; women who are compliant and consensual sexual guardians who are invested in their future health and that of their (assumed male) sexual partner/s. This research has two main contributions. First, it is a feminist intervention based upon the core principles of professional youth and community work, providing opportunities and legitimacy to the exploration and learning around the HPV vaccination programme and its effects. Second, it draws attention to minority experiences through eliciting young women’s experiences and accounts and opens the possibility of listening to and learning from the accounts of young women’s vaccine-injury. The thesis details the ways in which the HPV vaccine impacts upon and affects the lives of young women and their parents. The result of this research is the production of tangible recommendations for changes to the practices of sex and relationship/s education and of administrating the HPV vaccination and programme.