Narratives of Anti-Vaccination Movements in the German and Brazilian Twittersphere: A Grounded Theory Approach

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

Narratives of Anti-Vaccination Movements in the German and Brazilian Twittersphere: A Grounded Theory Approach


  • Adriana da Rosa Amaral School of Creative Industries, Unisinos University, Brazil
  • Anna-Katharina Jung Department of Computer Science and Applied Cognitive Science, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany
  • Lea-Marie Braun Department of Computer Science and Applied Cognitive Science, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany
  • Beatriz Blanco School of Creative Industries, Unisinos University, Brazil


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Abstract:  Since February 2020, the world has been facing a global pandemic of the SARS-CoV2 virus. All over the world, people have been urged to take protective measures. It is hoped that the implementation of widespread vaccination campaigns will defeat the pandemic in the long term. While many people are eager to be vaccinated against Covid-19, other voices in the population are highly critical of vaccination and protective measures, circulating much misinformation on social media. The movements opposing pandemic response measures are heterogeneous, including right-wing groups, spiritualists who deny science, citizens with existential fears, and those who equate vaccination with a loss of individual freedom. This study aims to map and compare the social media communication of anti-vaccination movements that defy social cohesion and circulate online misinformation in Germany and Brazil. By following a grounded theory approach suggested by Webb and Mallon (2007), we coded content from social media communication of opinion leaders on Twitter with extended narrative analysis methodology finding different narratives that were mapped within the inhomogeneous anti-vaccination movements. The results show that both countries’ main narratives against vaccination are very similar, but the main difference stems from Brazil’s stronger politicization of vaccines.

Keywords:  anti-vaccination movements; Brazil; Germany; narratives; social cohesion; social media; Twitter

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v10i2.5037


© Adriana da Rosa Amaral, Anna-Katharina Jung, Lea-Marie Braun, Beatriz Blanco. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.