Posts Tagged ‘HIV’

Cooper, “The Theology of Emergency”

February 3, 2014

Cooper, Melinda.  2014.  The Theology of Emergency: Welfare Reform, US Foreign Aid and the Faith-Based Initiative.  Theory, Culture, and Society.  Advanced online publication.

Abstract: This article addresses the rise of faith-based emergency relief by examining the US President’s Emergency Plan for HIV/AIDS (PEPFAR), a public health intervention focused on the AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa. It argues that the theological turn in humanitarian aid serves to amplify ongoing dynamics in the domestic politics of sub-Saharan African states, where social services have assumed the form of chronic emergency relief and religious organizations have come to play an increasingly prominent role in the provision of such services. In the context of an ongoing public health crisis, PEPFAR has institutionalized the social authority of the Pentecostal and charismatic churches, leading to a semantic confluence between the postcolonial politics of emergency and the Pentecostal/Pauline theology of kairos or event. Far from being confined to the space of foreign aid, however, the faith-based turn in humanitarianism is in keeping with ongoing reforms in domestic social policy in the United States. While on the one hand the sustained welfare programmes of the New Deal and Great Society have been dismantled in favour of a system of emergency relief, on the other hand the federal government has intensified its moral, pedagogical and punitive interventions into the lives of the poor. The wilful transfer of welfare services to overtly religious service providers has played a decisive role in this process. The article concludes with a critical appraisal of the links between African and North American Pentecostal-evangelical churches and questions the revolutionary mission ascribed to Pauline political theology in recent political theory.

van Dijk, “Counselling and Pentecostal modalities of social engineering of relationships in Botswana”

October 2, 2013

van Dijk, Rijk.  2013.  Counselling and Pentecostal modalities of social engineering of relationships in Botswana.  Culture, Health & Sexuality (Published Online 27 September 2013).

Abstract: In African societies where HIV and AIDS are widespread, counselling is being used in an attempt to control people’s sexual relationships and has become an important industry. Counselling is centrally placed in many AIDS-related policies in Botswana and is sponsored by both the government and religious organisations. Within the broad spectrum of Christianity, Pentecostal churches are very active. They emphasise the refashioning of relationships by mediating moral imperatives and by engaging with psychological knowledge on personal behaviour and on techniques of counselling in a changing context of sexuality. This paper explores the significance of religious counselling in terms of the disciplining effects concerning personal behaviour and the ways in which this form of communication is generating a wider interest in this society. This is particularly attractive to members of the educated classes who are engaging with Pentecostal counselling as a way of refashioning their domain of intimate relations. Yet, it does not only provide informed ideas on intimate relations – being often one of the proclaimed objectives of counselling – it also produces a communication about intimate matters that is intended to inform a critique of socio-cultural conventions. This is a counter-cultural dynamic of counselling, which has been little noticed in the academic study of counselling practices in Africa.

van Klinken, “Transforming Masculinities in African Christianity”

February 28, 2013

van Klinken, Adriaan S.  2013. Transforming Masculinities in African Christianity: Gender Controversies in Times of AIDS. Surrey: Ashgate.

Publisher’s Description: Studies of gender in African Christianity have usually focused on women. This book draws attention to men and constructions of masculinity, particularly important in light of the HIV epidemic which has given rise to a critical investigation of dominant forms of masculinity. These are often associated with the spread of HIV, gender-based violence and oppression of women. Against this background Christian theologians and local churches in Africa seek to change men and transform masculinities.

Exploring the complexity and ambiguity of religious gender discourses in contemporary African contexts, this book critically examines the ways in which some progressive African theologians, and a Catholic parish and a Pentecostal church in Zambia, work on a ‘transformation of masculinities’.

Bochow & van Dijk, “Christian Creations of New Spaces of Sexuality, Reproduction, and Relationships in Africa: Exploring Faith and Religious Heterotopia”

December 13, 2012

Bochow, Astrid and Rijk van Dijk. 2012. “Christian Creations of New Spaces of Sexuality, Reproduction, and Relationships in Africa: Exploring Faith and Religious Heterotopia.” Journal of Religion in Africa 42(4):325-344.

Abstract: In many African societies today Christian churches, Pentecostals in particular, are an important source of information on sexuality, relationships, the body, and health, motivated in part by the HIV/AIDS pandemic but also related to globally circulating ideas and images that make people rethink gender relations and identities through the lens of ‘romantic love’. Contextualizing the contemporary situation in the history of Christian movements in Africa, and by applying Foucault’s notion of heterotopia, this introduction and the subsequent papers show that Christian doctrines and practices are creating social spaces of altering relational ethics, identities and gender roles that appeal especially to upwardly mobile women.

Klinken, “Men in the Remaking: Conversion Narratives and Born-Again Masculinity in Zambia”

October 9, 2012

Klinken, Adriaan (2012) “Men in the Remaking: Conversion Narratives and Born-Again Masculinity in Zambia” Journal of Religion in Africa 42 (3): 215-239 

Abstract: The born-again discourse is a central characteristic of Pentecostal Christianity in Africa. In the study of African Christianities, this discourse and the way it (re)shapes people’s moral, religious, and social identities has received much attention. However, hardly any attention has been paid to its effects on men as gendered beings. In the study of men and masculinities in Africa, on the other hand, neither religion in general nor born-again Christianity in particular are taken into account as relevant factors in the construction of masculinities. On the basis of a detailed analysis of interviews with men who are members of a Pentecostal church in Lusaka, Zambia, this article investigates how men’s gender identities are reshaped by becoming and being born-again and how born-again conversion produces new forms of masculinity. The observed Pentecostal transformation of masculinity is interpreted in relation to men’s social vulnerability, particularly in the context of the HIV epidemic in Zambia.

Eves, “Resisting Global AIDS Knowledges”

February 4, 2012

Eves, Richard (2012) “Resisting Global AIDS Knowledges: Born-Again Christian Narratives of the Epidemic from Papua New Guinea.” Medical Anthropology 31(1):67-76.

Abstract: The recognition that HIV prevention materials need to be adapted to local cultures is not often sufficiently understood and applied. Counter discourses and determined disputation about the best means of HIV prevention show that success is not simply a matter of mindfully translating globally sanctioned knowledge and presenting it to receptive audiences. Beliefs contrary to global AIDS knowledges will not be displaced inevitably by scientific facts. As this study of born-again Christians in Papua New Guinea shows, there is incommensurability between the globalized approach preferred by the government and the approach of these Christians. The answer may lie in two words: respect and dialogue.

Rios et al., “The Catholic Church, moral doctrine, and HIV prevention in Recife, Brazil: Negotiating the contradictions between religious belief and the realities of everyday life”

December 8, 2011

Rios, Luis Felipe, Francisca Luciana de Aquino, Miguel Muñoz-Laboy, Laura R. Murray, Cinthia Oliveira, & Richard G. Parker (2011) “The Catholic Church, moral doctrine, and HIV prevention in Recife, Brazil: Negotiating the contradictions between religious belief and the realities of everyday life” Culture and Religion 12(4):355-372.

Abstract: Religious beliefs have had a key role in shaping local responses to HIV and AIDS. As the world’s largest Catholic country, Brazil is no exception. Yet little research has been conducted to document how religious doctrine is enacted in practice among its lay leaders and followers. In this article, we present ethnographic research from Recife, Brazil, conducted to understand the way in which religious doctrines are interpreted at a local level. Contextualised within the sociology of contemporary Brazilian Catholicism, we draw on interviews with clergy members, lay leaders, and parishioners to discuss how the Catholic Church’s vision of sexuality translates into everyday lives of its followers. We explore the disjuncture between the Catholic ideals of fidelity and delaying sex until marriage with the everyday reality of the Church’s followers, highlighting the role that gender plays in defining sexual roles and expectations. We conclude by posing questions for future research and HIV prevention strategies considering the formal institutional response of the Brazilian Catholic Church to AIDS on the one hand, and the social and cultural contexts in which Catholics live their daily lives on the other.

%d bloggers like this: