For Immediate Release
Contact: Bahram Rajaee, (202) 483-2512
"Lessons Learned" Highlighted as Global Politics of HIV/AIDS Examined in New Research
In her introduction to the symposium, available for downloading on the APSA website at www.apsanet.org/content_37799.cfm, Andrea Densham (Densham Consulting) notes that "inadequate social and political responses to HIV have caused immense human misery, evident not only in the loss of life, but also in the impact of the disease on social structures, economic potential, and political stability." Despite this urgent challenge, its costs, and direct implications for political institutions and societies across the globe, political scientists have largely been silent on this topic. This symposium breaks that silence by offering the first empirical and theoretical claims by political scientists on the pandemic in seven years.
The symposium emphasizes three main findings: the role of the state (what governments can and should do, and when and why they fail to act); the potential of civil society in light of the limits of state authority and tools; and the consequences of state avoidance or its failure to act for broader society. These themes are addressed across national and social contexts and analytical approaches by the four symposium articles:
In “Written in Blood: AIDS Prevention and the Politics of Failure in
Patricia Siplon and Jamila Headley (St. Michael’s College) employ a different approach and context for examining state action in their contribution entitled “Roadblocks to the Road to Treatment: Lessons from
Linkages between the state and civil society are also emphasized in Krista Johnson’s article “Framing AIDS Mobilization and Human Rights in Post-apartheid South Africa,” which sheds light on the way activists frame messages and tailor their approaches to contest state and business interests. Johnson (
The final article, “Rejection as Freedom? HIV/AIDS Organizations and Identity” by Meredith Weiss (
The themes considered in this symposium represent only some of the ways in which the social science of HIV/AIDS can be approached. All four articles provide greater insight into crucial dynamics in the politics of HIV/AIDS such as mobilization and marginalization of different groups from a range of analytical perspectives—global, local, state, grassroots, activist, and that of beneficiaries. The significance of the new research found here, Densham observes, also lies in the fact that it brings together a remarkable group of scholars to help illuminate “the diverse and lasting impact that HIV/AIDS has had, not only on the health and wellbeing of so many world citizens, but also on relationships between states and citizens and among corporations, governments, and civil society."
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