Vaccines, fist bumps, & coconut water

Victor Perez, SociologyVictor Perez, Assistant Professor of Sociology at UD, joined us for a discussion of public health issues. Perez researches how scientific, medical, and public health information is communicated with the public.

In this discussion, we talked about the rhetoric of the “vaccine critical” community–how they get their anti-vaccine message out, how they reinforce that message with each other, the reasons why so many educated people are part of that community–in spite of overwhelming evidence that most vaccinations are a win for public health. Perez posits that the opposition is shaped by, among other factors, political viewpoints opposed to big government.

But Perez didn’t stop there. He also talked about creationism, diet fads, coconut water, handshakes, and fist bumps. A fascinating discussion of a variety of public health issues and how they play out in the media.

Listen to the Interview

Victor Perez, Sociology
28.8 MB

About our guest

Victor Perez joined UD’s faculty as an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice after receiving his PhD at the University of Delaware.

He specializes in the sociology of risk, medical sociology, social problems, and survey research. A unifying theme throughout his career is the entwined configuration of health, risk, and society. Currently, his research projects involve a survey of vaccine risk perception, exploring citizen-science alliances dealing with legacy pollution and sea-level rise, and studying how the popular media presents the issue of cancer clusters. He regularly teaches quantitative sociological research methods, social statistics and data analysis, and Honors introduction to sociology. Recently, he became a faculty affiliate of the Delaware Environmental Institute (DENIN) and is starting new lines of research on legacy pollution in impoverished areas, water sustainability, and other environmental justice issues. In Fall 2014, he is teaching a new Sociology course about the environment and environmental organizations.

This is his second appearance on Campus Voices. He joined us on Nov. 13, 2013, to discuss the use of “cancer clusters” as a rhetorical device.

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Photo of Victor Perez by Sarah Tompkins