I have wanted for some time to write an account of Henrik Ibsen's play 'An Enemy of the People'; the narrative of the play uncannily replicates the situation, feelings and social consequences of the case of Dr Andrew Wakefield. I first used quotes from the play in 2003 when writing about Sir Richard Doll, but a more complete analysis of the play eluded me until I prepared a paper for the fourth Science and Democracy conference held in Naples in May 2008.
My analysis of the play is hopefully not an academic exercise but an account that provides an insight into the way in which those with vested interests behave and how we might combat them. One of the most important aspects of any comparison between the play and the case of Dr Wakefield touches on the fact that despite its age and its national circumstances, the message of this play is still clearly germane to contemporary situations.
Uncomfortable Science and Enemies of the People
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