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AIDS and the Ecology of Poverty$
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Eileen Stillwaggon

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195169270

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0195169271.001.0001

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Racial Metaphors

Racial Metaphors

Interpreting Sex and AIDS in Africa

(p.133) 7 Racial Metaphors
AIDS and the Ecology of Poverty

Eileen Stillwaggon (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines Western preconceptions regarding African sexuality that distorted early research on the social context of AIDS in Africa and continue to limit the scope of preventive policies. It examines social science and policy works that constructed a hypersexualized pan-African culture as the main reason for the high prevalence of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, supporting their hypotheses with sweeping generalizations and innuendo based on anecdotal evidence, rather than on useful comparative data on sexual behavior. This chapter offers a critical analysis of the discourse on African “exceptionalism”, excessive reliance on anthropological or ethnographic methodology, and the historical and philosophical origins of treating Africa as a special case that derives from racial science and the eugenics movement.

Keywords:   Africa, sexuality, hypersexualized, critical analysis, racial science, eugenics, anecdotal evidence, anthropology, ethnography

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