Whose crisis? Pandemic flu, 'communication disasters' and the struggle for hegemony

  • Public health authorities in Germany regard communication as a crucial part of infectious disease prevention and control strategies. Communication becomes even more important during public health crises such as pandemics. Drawing on Briggs and Hallin’s concept of biocommunicability, we analysed the German National Pandemic Plan and key informant interviews with public health experts, critical infrastructure providers and ambulance services. We examined the projected expectations towards the behaviour of the audiences and the projected ways of information circulation informing public health communication strategies during a pandemic. Participants shared the expectation that the population would react towards an influenza pandemic with panic and fear due to a lack of information or a sensationalist media coverage. They associated the information uptake of their target audience with trust in their expertise. While our informants from public health conceptualised trust in terms of a face-to-face interaction, they sought to gain trust through transparency in their respective institutional settings. Our analysis suggests that this moved health information into a political register where their medical authority was open to debate. In response to this, they perceived the field of communication as a struggle for hegemony.

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Author:Kevin Hall, Meike Wolf
Pubmed Id:https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31746222
Parent Title (English):Health
Publisher:Sage Publ.
Place of publication:London [u. a.]
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2019
Date of first Publication:2019/11/20
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2020/05/25
Tag:Germany; biocommunicability; health emergency; influenza vaccination; pandemic planning
Page Number:17
First Page:1
Last Page:17
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).
Institutes:Sprach- und Kulturwissenschaften / Kulturwissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification:6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0