Efremov V.A. Speech Behaviour of Anti-Vaxxers: Rhetorical and Legal Aspects

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu2.2022.3.8

Valeriy A. Efremov

Doctor of Sciences (Philology), Professor, Head of the Department of the Russian Language, Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia

Reki Moyki Emb., 48, 191186 Saint Petersburg, Russia

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Abstract. The situation of the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed a new and exacerbated number of old social problems, including social inequality, the growth of social aggression, and the upscaling of agonal communication in Runet. One of the new conflict-generating points is the attitude towards vaccination, which divided people into pro-vaxxers and anti-vaxxers. In order to develop the strategies for community response to socially dangerous activities of anti-vaxxers, it is necessary to rely on scientific data obtained as a result of analysis of vaccination opponents' argumentation system and discourse description. The paper reveals the main arguments of anti-vaxxers and presents the linguistic-and-legal problems that arise in Internet communication while discussing the topic of vaccinations against COVID-19. For the explication of aggressive rhetoric, a content analysis of the largest group of anti-vaxxers "The COVID-Resistance Movement" on the VKontakte social network was carried out. In addition to highlighting and describing the most common arguments of anti-vaccinationists, examples of complex (moral and metaphysical) aggressive arguments were given (after the concept of H. Kusse). Aggressive verbal behaviour in some cases leads to a direct violation of the law – both new articles of the Criminal Code and the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation related to the COVID-19 pandemic (for example, on misinformation), and traditional articles related to agonal communication (for example, extremism and racism).

Key words: anti-vaccination, network communication, verbal aggression, argumentation, verbal delict.

Citation. Efremov V.A. Speech Behaviour of Anti-Vaxxers: Rhetorical and Legal Aspects. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 2. Yazykoznanie [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. Linguistics], 2022, vol. 21, no. 3, pp. 90-100. (in Russian). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu2.2022.3.8

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