Re: [xmca] Papers for discussion: HIV, interventions and activitytheory

From: Steve Gabosch <stevegabosch who-is-at>
Date: Sat Nov 08 2008 - 23:05:07 PST

Mary, Andy, I got distracted and didn't ask a question that occurred
to me during your discussion of possible social bases for an effective
movement to reverse the AIDS crisis in SA.

It is an obvious question, and is addressed to some extent in the
video that was shown at ISCAR: what about young women? It seems to
me that they more than anyone have the ultimate power and motivation
to significantly change how sexuality is done in SA. Of all the
places in the world that could use a thriving feminist movement - and
there are plenty of those - the life and death situation in SA and
Africa would certainly qualify it as one of the most needed places.
You can't just wish movements like that into existence, but sooner or
later, women are bound to form one. Once such a thing begins to roll,
all the other social layers mentioned - grandmothers, orphans, etc. -
will feel empowered and will also become more politicized. Many of us
on xmca are old enough to have witnessed that in the US women's
movement, sometimes called the third wave of feminism. What are the
prospects of building a women's movement in SA that is willing to take
the issues of AIDS head on (not to mention other issues)? What
incipient forms have feminism, womens rights movements, etc. already
taken? What could be done to help?

Well, just some thoughts. What do you think?
- Steve

On Oct 21, 2008, at 2:10 AM, Mary van der Riet wrote:

> Dear Andy
> I think that there might be a social base for a 'social movement' in
> this context, in the sense that parents (the older generation) is
> extremely worried about the rate of infection and the increase in the
> number of deaths. However, parents/older people have relatively little
> 'sway' in this context (as do parents all over the world in relation
> to
> youth).
> Although there are orphans, they are often not in orphanages (SA
> doesnt
> have many and the problem of orphans is huge), but with extended
> family
> members, or grandmothers who remain the sole adults in the family who
> have not succumbed to HIV. The idea of mobilising orphans is an
> interesting one. My sense is that they are usually so overwhelmed by
> the
> struggle to survive without adults that being advocates for changing
> broader social conditions would be hard. They are also often very
> young
> when they are orphaned (under 10), and so disempowered age-wise too.
> Changing the attractiveness of being sexually active (for example as
> you suggest, making taking risks into 'stupid' acts) sounds very much
> like changing 'norms/conditions' in the context. There are many
> interventions with youth which try to create other activities for them
> (so that the focus is not on sex and risks), and encourage a focus on
> the future. There are examples of campaigns which focus on creating an
> 'HIV-free generation', but I dont think they have re-imaged the idea
> of
> being sexually attractive - and these campaigns have not had much of
> an
> effect.
> Another possibility of a social base is the people who were involved
> in
> the research in the first place (youth in the research context). My
> assumption is that reflecting on the findings (of risky practices,
> rate
> of infection, prevalence of HIV etc) with those who were participants,
> might create the conditions for future contradictions.
> Do you have a particular reference for Peirce and the three
> 'registers'
> - seems like something useful there
> Mary
> Mary van der Riet; School of Psychology; University of KwaZulu-Natal
> Private Bag X01, Scottsville, 3209
> email:
> tel: 033 260 6163; fax: 033 2605809
>>>> Andy Blunden <> 2008/10/14 03:37 PM >>>
> Mary,
> Your work is really exciting. The problem seems almost
> insurmountable - how to change the sexual mores of an entire
> population??
> Just thinking randomly about a few things ...
> Social movements need a social base. Is it possible to
> identify some social group who is motivated to dedicate
> themselves to this task? For example, efforts to stamp out
> alcohol abuse in Indigenous Australian communities have
> turned to the older women to recruit their shock troops
> because these women suffer from the drunkenness of their
> men. Maybe even the orphans in orphanages could be
> mobilised? ...
> The Transport Accident Commission here has had a great deal
> of success in lowering the rate of people getting killed in
> car accidents by advertising campaigns which aim to make
> certain dangerous behaviours just look stupid. Bascially,
> you need to change the image of a sexually attractive man or
> woman. It is often the case that rational understanding of
> the lethal consquences has little effect if people *feel*
> powerful and good when doing the unsafe practice.
> In general my theory is that, following CS Peirce, you have
> to coordiante the attack on three registers: the symbolic
> (AIDS is caused by a sexually transmitted virus), the
> indexical (a social movement of people motivated to stop the
> unsafe sex) and the iconic (making unsafe sex look like what
> it is, not sexy but unsafe).
> Does that strike ant bells?
> Andy
> Mary van der Riet wrote:
>> Hi all
>> I would like to raise the question asked in both of my papers
> presented
>> at ISCAR (and referred to by Mike below), about the possibilities of
>> intervention in social problems - such as an epidemic. This is also
>> partly in response to Steve Gabosch's post (My Iscar), and an
> off-list
>> discussion I have been having.
>> CHAT (and the ATriangle) really has helped me to understand some of
> the
>> dynamics around individual responses to HIV. They have, as Steve
> says,
>> ‘methodological power’.
>> The most common response to me research topic is ‘What do you say
>> about interventions?’ I don’t think there is an easy answer to
>> this. There is perhaps not even ‘an’ answer to this question.
> My
>> second paper reflected on the implementation of a ‘social
>> mobilisation’ process in the same community referred to in the
> first
>> paper. I perhaps need to provide some background on the idea of
>> ‘social mobilisation’ as we used it. Some of my colleagues (in
>> an organisation called CADRE) had funding from Save the Children
> to
>> pilot a ‘social mobilisation’ process. The idea was conceived
> by
>> Save the Children and was in response to the dominant
>> ‘individualistic’ orientation of most HIV and AIDS
> interventions.
>> The phrase was not theorised deeply by us and because of time
> pressure
>> we did not look at literature on other ‘social mobilisation’
>> processes - which perhaps we should have (and I think that social
>> mobilisation in the Marxist sense that Steve refers to is perhaps
> what
>> the Treatment Action Campaign has been doing ito advocating and
>> mobilizing for better policies on HIV treatment and access to
>> medication - perhaps a question is what is ‘political’ action
> in
>> trying to achieve behaviour change as opposed to policy change?, and
> how
>> does this relate to 'individual' level change?)
>> After being given the brief by Save the Children, we operationalised
>> it in our own terms (the report is available on -
> Making
>> HIV/AIDS our problem: Young people and the development challenge in
>> South Africa, 2002). The initial premise was that this was a context
>> with a high rate of risky sexual practices, and it was a context in
>> which HIV was stigmatized, silenced and ‘othered’. The aim
> became:
>> how can we, firstly, understand and, secondly, influence the
>> community’s ‘response’ to HIV and AIDS to that the broader
>> context of their ‘individual activity’ could change. The
> assumption
>> was that this would set the conditions for individual change.
> However,
>> it wasn’t really an intervention and implementing the process was
> not
>> based on a CHAT analysis, so my reflection in the paper is really
>> applying CHAT after the fact. It also had slightly different goals
> to
>> what might have been addressed if the research data had been
> followed
>> through. The social mobilisation process focused on the group’s
>> ‘response’ to HIV in
>> a very broad sense (in part to address stigmatisation), and this
>> broadness, I think, meant that very limited ‘changes’ resulted
> from
>> the process.
>> I think that the degree of interest on the part of residents of this
>> particular area in the research process and in the social
> mobilisation
>> process suggests that it might be possible to set up a process of
>> critical reflection through a ‘Change Laboratory’ process in an
>> ‘open’ setting (ie not an organizational setting). This is
> what
>> I would like
>> to do once my phd process is finished and this might be able to
>> generate some ‘solutions’ to the very huge problem of HIV/AIDS.
> One
>> of the useful things about the research context is that there is
> some
>> degree of ‘coherence’ amongst the village residents and between
> the
>> villages themselves. However, the research process took place a few
>> years ago
>> and there have been changes since then. And I am still learning
> about
>> the ‘change lab’ process and would need to raise a team of people
> to
>> engage in something like this, but its something I am thinking
> about.
>> so, how does one and how can one make 'changes' in society happen to
>> the degree that one needs in the HIV/AIDS pandemic (which the UNAIDS
>> Report 2008 says is on the rise in Britain, Russia, China, Germany,
>> Ukraine and Indonesia)?
>> Mary
>> Mary van der Riet; School of Psychology; University of KwaZulu-Natal
>> Private Bag X01, Scottsville, 3209
>> email:
>> tel: 033 260 6163; fax: 033 2605809
>>>>> "Mike Cole" <> 2008/10/07 08:44 PM >>>
>> We have contacted Taylor and Francis to get the new "arrticle for
>> discussion" available as a pdf file on their
>> MCA page. Meantime, we have these papers for discussion that one or
>> another
>> of you has asked to discuss.
>> Discuss away!!
>> mike
>> --------------
>> *Race and Language as Capital in School: A Sociological Template for
>> Language Education Reform
>> * <>
> Allan
>> Luke
> DRAFT*<>
>> Yrjö Engeström, University of Helsinki
>> *CHAT and HIV/AIDS: An activity system analysis of a lack of
> behaviour
> change*<
> >
>> Mary van der Riet
>> *Activity Theory and reconceptualising HIV/AIDS
> interventions*<
> >
>> Mary van der Riet
>> _______________________________________________
>> xmca mailing list
>> Please find our Email Disclaimer here:
>> _______________________________________________
>> xmca mailing list
> --
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Andy Blunden +61 3 9380 9435
> Skype andy.blunden
> Hegel's Logic with a Foreword by Andy Blunden:
> _______________________________________________
> xmca mailing list
> Please find our Email Disclaimer here:
> _______________________________________________
> xmca mailing list

xmca mailing list
Received on Sat Nov 8 23:10:06 2008

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Mon Dec 01 2008 - 12:52:40 PST