Anger and Health Activism: The Role of Emotion in Fighting the ACA Repeal Effort
Beza Merid, Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Anger can play an important role in coalescing health activist movements. It can be used to recruit participants, motivate action, and build solidarity in the pursuit of policy reforms. Anger can also produce conflict within these movements when, derided as a suspect emotion and framed as chaotic and irrational, activists worry it may undermine public support for their cause. As patient mobilization organizations within these movements work to resolve this tension, one question they may ask is about whether or not anger—felt as an individual and collective emotion and translated into direct action—is part of participants’ responsibility to one another and the policy reforms they seek. In this talk, Beza Merid draws on a growing archive of media produced by social movements, patient communities, and digital media users addressing the ongoing effort to eliminate the Affordable Care Act to examine how they are negotiating this relationship between anger and responsibility, and to consider how this negotiation might change going forward.
Beza Merid is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, affiliated with the National Center for Institutional Diversity, the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, and the Science, Technology, and Public Policy program. His research examines how patients, caregivers, health institutions, and policy makers shape what it means to be a "responsible" patient in public and health policy discourses.