Background Public health posters exhorting viewers to wash their hands to prevent the spread of communicable disease are common in airports, shopping malls, hospitals, and workplaces. Yet the poster remains understudied by scholars working in communication, health, and governance. Analysis Analyzing a large corpus of Canadian public health posters targeting handwashing, this article identifies three themes: the articulation of an embodied pedagogy aimed at daily practices; the recognition of our body surfaces and those of people and things around us as contaminated skins; and the production of haptic visuality. Conclusion and implications These posters promote a habitus of hygiene, inviting us to modify our haptic etiquette, to see, know, and inhabit our bodies differently, and to imagine and interact with our environment on new terms.

Cultural studies, Media/mass media, Risk communication, Visual communication
Canadian Journal of Communication
Department of Law and Legal Studies

Hamilton, S. (2019). Envisioning a habitus of hygiene: Hands as disease media in public health handwashing campaigns. Canadian Journal of Communication, 44(2), 263–288. doi:10.22230/cjc.2019v44n2a3402