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Intersectionality: A Challenge for Feminist HIV/AIDS Research?
Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies. Linköping University, REMESO - Institute for Research on Migration, Ethnicity and Society.
2006 (English)In: European Journal of Women’s Studies, ISSN 1350-5068 (print), 1461-7420 (online), Vol. 13, no 3, 229-243 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this article is to engage critically with feminist HIV/AIDS research from an ‘intersectional’ perspective. Focusing in particular on the work of Tamsin Wilton (1997) and Janet Holland et al. (1998), the article examines how ‘race’, ethnicity and class are theorized and conceptualized in this literature. Through a scrutiny of their empirical analyses, the article points to the pitfalls of a descriptive approach to ‘differences’ and problematizes Wilton's and Holland et al.'s theoretical focus on gender and sexuality. The benefit of including a critical perspective on ‘race’ and ethnicity and other axes of domination is illustrated further using some empirical examples from the Swedish HIV/AIDS policy context. The article concludes by arguing that an intersectional perspective poses a challenge to feminist HIV/AIDS research that needs to be addressed in order to produce an effective sexual health policy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, Ltd , 2006. Vol. 13, no 3, 229-243 p.
Keyword [en]
cultural racism, HIV/AIDS, intersectionality, safer sex, Sweden
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-13072DOI: 10.1177/1350506806065754OAI: diva2:17777
Available from: 2008-03-20 Created: 2008-03-20 Last updated: 2011-04-25
In thesis
1. Safe Sex, Unsafe Identities: Intersections of ’Race’, Gender and Sexuality in Swedish HIV/AIDS Policy
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Safe Sex, Unsafe Identities: Intersections of ’Race’, Gender and Sexuality in Swedish HIV/AIDS Policy
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation examines the different depictions of ‘immigrants’ and the ways in which migration, ethnicity and racism have been handled by Swedish HIV/AIDS policy since the early 1980s. The dissertation consists of five separate articles and an introductory chapter that outlines the discourse-theoretical approach used in the subsequent articles. The introduction also provides a contextual framework by summarizing recent research on, and sketching a background to, HIV/AIDS policy development in Sweden.

The dissertation argues that, although the policy discourse early on established that inducing safer sex practices among the Swedish population was the only viable solution to the pandemic, the discourse is nonetheless permeated by notions of unsafe identities. The dissertation also stresses the importance of scrutinizing HIV/AIDS policy in light of broader political developments, and argues that an increasing focus on migrants in HIV/AIDS policy should not be seen as a simple reflection of the global epidemiological development, but should rather be understood in relation to the general political and economic phenomenon of welfare state retrenchment. Applying postcolonial feminist theories, the dissertation reveals how the policy discourse is permeated by conceptions of migrant cultures as not susceptible to change but steeped in tradition and primordiality, alongside racialized fantasies about Africa as the ‘dark continent’ and the source of disease. It also discusses how both masculinity and femininity, as well as heterosexuality and homosexuality, feature in the policy discourse as demarcations between Western and non-Western subjects – between whites and blacks and between Swedes and non-Swedes – and identifies the challenges that such knowledge implies for feminist HIV/AIDS research and policy.

Abstract [sv]

Denna studie undersöker hur frågor om migration, etnicitet och rasism hanteras i svensk hiv/aids-policy från 1980-talet fram till idag. Avhandlingen består av fem artiklar och ett introduktionskapitel som presenterar tidigare forskning och det diskursteoretiska ramverket som studien utgår från. Introduktionen innehåller även en presentation av hur svensk hiv/aids-policy utvecklats genom åren.

Avhandlingen visar att trots att policydiskursen tidigt lyfte fram att säkrare sexuella praktiker är av avgörande betydelse i kampen mot hiv/aids, så vilar diskursen ändå på en föreställning om säkra och osäkra identiteter. Avhandlingen poängterar också vikten av att studera hiv/aids policy i relation till en samtida politisk och ekonomisk utveckling och ställer sig kritiskt till att förklara ett ökat fokus på invandring i policydiskursen enbart med hänvisning till den globala epidemiologiska utvecklingen.

Det empiriska materialet består av policydokument och sexualupplysnings-material. Analysen av materialet visar att policydiskursen vilar på föreställningar om statiska ‘invandrarkulturer’ och rasifierade fantasier om Afrika och sjukdomens ursprung. Studien visar också hur såväl maskulinitet och femininitet, som heterosexualitet och homosexualitet, fungerar som markörer mellan västerländska och icke-västerländska subjekt – mellan vita och svarta och mellan svenskar och icke-svenskar – och diskuterar vad detta innebär för feministisk hiv/aids-forskning.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2008. 126 + articles 1-5 p.
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 424
HIV/AIDS, policy, Sweden, racism, ethnicity, migration, gender, sexuality, intersectionality, sexual health, sexual education, safer sex, hiv/aids, policy, Sverige, rasism, etnicitet, migration, genus, sexualitet, intersektionalitet, sexuell hälsa, sexualupplysning, säkrare sex
National Category
International Migration and Ethnic Relations
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-11379 (URN)978-91-7393-958-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-04-04, K2, Kåkenhus, Campus Norrköping, Linköpings universitet, Norrköping, 10:15 (English)
Available from: 2008-03-20 Created: 2008-03-20 Last updated: 2014-09-18Bibliographically approved

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Bredström, Anna
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Faculty of Arts and SciencesDepartment of Social and Welfare StudiesREMESO - Institute for Research on Migration, Ethnicity and Society
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