Representing HIV/AIDS in Africa: Pluralist photography and local empowerment

Bleiker, R. and Kay, A. (2007) Representing HIV/AIDS in Africa: Pluralist photography and local empowerment. International Studies Quarterly, 51 1: 139-163. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2478.2007.00443.x

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Author Bleiker, R.
Kay, A.
Title Representing HIV/AIDS in Africa: Pluralist photography and local empowerment
Journal name International Studies Quarterly   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0020-8833
Publication date 2007-03
Year available 2007
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1468-2478.2007.00443.x
Volume 51
Issue 1
Start page 139
End page 163
Total pages 24
Editor Poe, S. C.
Place of publication Massachusetts, United States of America
Publisher Blackwell Publishing
Collection year 2008
Language eng
Subject C1
360105 International Relations
750701 Understanding international relations
Abstract This essay explores the nature and political consequences of representing HIV/AIDS in Africa, where the disease has taken its greatest toll. We examine how different methods of photography embody different ideologies through which we give meaning to political phenomena. We distinguish three photographic methods of representing HIV/AIDS: naturalist, humanist, and pluralist. Naturalist approaches portray photographs as neutral and value free. Humanist photography, by contrast, hinges on the assumption that images of suffering can invoke compassion in viewers, and that this compassion can become a catalyst for positive change. By examining a widely circulated iconic photograph of a Ugandan woman and her child affected by AIDS-related illnesses, we show that such representations can nevertheless feed into stereotypical portrayals of African people as nameless and passive victims, removed from the everyday realities of the western world. We contrast these practices with pluralist photography. To do so we examine a project in Addis Ababa, which used a methodology that placed cameras into the hands of children affected by HIV/AIDS, giving them the opportunity to actively represent what it means to live with the disease. The result is a form of dialog that opens up spaces for individuals and communities to work more effectively in overcoming problematic stigmas and finding ways of stemming the spread of the disease.
Keyword International Relations
Political Science
Q-Index Code C1

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Created: Mon, 18 Feb 2008, 16:25:53 EST