The U.S. pandemic narratives which embodied many conflicting structures failed to provide guidance for groups and individuals to construct a clear understanding of the pandemic or a consistent measure to combat the disease. This book provides a careful examination of the discordant narratives that embodied the chaos, tensions, and conflicts in the U.S. pandemic responses. The ultimate goal of this volume is to help groups and individuals understand just what went wrong in the U.S. pandemic responses.
Shing-Ling S. Chen is professor of mass communication in the Department of Communication and Media at the University of Northern Iowa.
Nicole Allaire is associate teaching professor in the Department of English at Iowa State University.
Introduction: Discordant Narratives and Social Chaos
Shing-Ling S. Chen
Chapter One: Economy vs. Public Health: Discordant Leadership Narratives in the Pandemic
Shing-Ling S. Chen and Zanetta Miller
Chapter Two: Mandates vs. No Mandates: Communitarianism and Libertarianism in the Pandemic
Melissa L. Beall and Shing-Ling S. Chen
Chapter Three: Religious Freedom vs. Public Health: Discordant Legal Narratives in the Pandemic
Chapter Four: Domestic Disjointed Narratives of the Pandemic: The Critical Early Months
Chapter Five: Historical vs. Ahistorical Narratives of The Pandemic: The Discordant Rhetoric of Our Unprecedented Times
John J. Rief
Chapter Six: Discordant Rhetorical Responses: Crisis Communication in Sports Organizations in the Covid-19 Pandemic
Tyler Welsh, R. Tyler Spradley, and Elizabeth Spradley
Chapter Seven: Misinformation, Scandalization, and the Trump Show: Audience Responses to President Trump’s Pandemic Narrative
Chapter Eight: Manufacturing Disinformation: The Story of Plandemic
Stephen D. Caldes, Zach Justus, and Jennifer A. Malkowski
"Discordant Pandemic Narratives in the U.S., edited by Shing-Ling S. Chen and Nicole Allaire, is a well-organized collection of nine tightly written and informative essays by over a dozen scholars, examining various responses to a medical crisis. This collection seamlessly blends contemporary political discourse with an emphasis on narrative research. It not only consists of precise analysis of complex forms of storytelling by people in positions of power, but provides insightful, definitive, and eye-opening accounts of how crisis communication styles become constructed, maintained, and mediated across space and time."
"Why is it that, despite our vaunted health care system, America has suffered more deaths from COVID-19 than any other nation? The insightful studies that compose this book show us how discordant forms of communication led to America’s chaotic and ineffective response to the pandemic. With careful writing and persuasive analysis ranging across the fault lines of public discourse—freedom versus community, economy versus public health, science versus disinformation—these findings offer the hope that we can one day extricate ourselves from this epidemic and prepare for the next one."
"Discordant Pandemic Narratives in the U.S. is a vital, timely examination of the battling public narratives and story frames surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic in American sociopolitical discourse. The contributing authors detail how conflicting perspectives on the pandemic, as well as government and health institutions’ efforts to combat it, fostered uncertainty, misinformation, and cynicism in a public arena already riven by sociocultural fault-lines. Ultimately, Discordant Pandemic Narratives in the U.S. shows how these conditions disrupted the public health response to COVID-19 and resulted in a higher death toll for the U.S."
"Discordant Pandemic Narratives in the U.S. edited by Shing-Ling S. Chen and Nicole Allaire offers an intriguing perspective on what they label the 'discordant narratives' produced in the responses to COVID-19 in the United States. This book is a collection of interesting essays that examine these responses from multiple perspectives starting with the economy vs. public health, mask and vaccine mandates, and religious leaders’ responses and moving through the initial 'othering' of the virus, the ahistorical media coverage, and the differing responses from the NFL and NBA, then concluding with the opposing audiences of the President’s messages and the analysis of a conspiracy viral video. By applying a narrative perspective to multiple discords, this book offers a thought-provoking exploration of how the acrimonious US responses to the COVID-19 pandemic led to the unconscionable death toll in this country."