Freedom And Responsibility In American Public Health Debate Around Covid-19


As a key culture-shaping concept for the USA, the freedom/liberty concept is frequently appealed to in debates regarding various political, economic, and social policy decisions. However, since understanding of this important concept always entails radical disagreement, it remains a topic of scholarly interest to see how it is used in various situations and various types of discourses. The study examines how and to what purpose and effect the concept freedom/liberty is used and metaphorized in the American public discourse related to vaccination and other restrictions in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research has shown that the two primary frames used in the public health debate around COVID-19 are “caring, responsible freedom” that places emphasis on the common good and fiercely individualistic “don’t-tread-on-me freedom,” both of which are deeply rooted in American culture. The content of the two basic frames often drifts so far apart that they are seen as polar opposites and while the debating parties acknowledge the importance of both aspects, their interpretation and implementation differ significantly. The freedom/liberty concept is intertwined with another important concept, responsibility/duty, with both sides of the COVID-19 public health debate actively employing and reframing them to prove their point. Providing a better understanding of how and why it shapes the public sentiment related to the pandemic measures would help improve the efficiency of public appeals and tactics to persuade hesitant audiences.

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31 March 2022

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1st Edition




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Lukmanova, O. B., & Sotkina, E. Y. (2022). Freedom And Responsibility In American Public Health Debate Around Covid-19. In & I. Savchenko (Ed.), Freedom and Responsibility in Pivotal Times, vol 125. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 537-548). European Publisher.