Endangered Relations: Negotiating Sex and AIDS in Thailand

By Guest, Philip | SOJOURN: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia, April 2001 | Go to article overview

Endangered Relations: Negotiating Sex and AIDS in Thailand


Guest, Philip, SOJOURN: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia


Endangered Relations: Negotiating Sex and AIDS in Thailand. By Chris Lyttleton. Amsterdam: Harwood Academic Publishers, 2000. 260 pp.

Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) swept into the consciousness of most Thais in the early 1990s. The transition from a situation of relatively little information on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and AIDS, and to some extent official denial of the threat of AIDS, to a situation where the government spearheaded efforts to make the public aware of the disease was extremely rapid. This book provides a description and interpretation of the content of the media messages that were associated with this rapid change as well as analysing how residents of two northeastern villages in Thailand interpreted these messages.

It was only at the start of the decade of the 1990s in Thailand that concerted efforts were made to influence behaviour believed to be associated with the spread of HIV. Initial efforts concentrated on instilling fear by associating certain activities with a certain and painful death. Over time, media messages became more sophisticated in presentation and less focused on death while retaining an emphasis on a small range of behaviours, most notably those associated with commercial sex. In Chapter 1 of his book, Lyttleton provides a description of the media messages used in the AIDS campaigns and an incisive content analysis of the media messages. He makes it clear that the media approaches adopted were not "value-free". Instead they focused on certain behaviours and underlying values and left unquestioned other values or institutions. Efforts were directed towards creating a "field of danger" with commercial sex at the heart of the danger. Yet commercial sex itself was rarely questioned. The solution proposed to limit the danger was, and is, the use of condoms in commercial sex.

Chapters 3 through 6 focus on HIV/AIDS and sexual relations as viewed and interpreted by villagers in northeastern Thailand. These three chapters provide a wide range of information and are a valuable contribution to ethnographic accounts of sexuality and sex in rural Thailand. Some of the author's most interesting insights are in relation to how institutional arrangements relating to exchange of money influence understandings of sexuality and relations between the sexes. He describes how, at the village level, exchanges of money are inextricably linked to sex. For marital sex the link is made through the payment of bride-wealth. For pre-marital or extra-marital sex occurring between a man and woman the linkage occurs through fines paid by the male partner and imposed by village authorities. Fines for sexual transgressions related to pre-marital sex can be converted into bride-wealth if the transgressing couple marry.

The description of the monetary base of sexual relations in village life is extended by the author to help understand the role of commercial sex in northeastern Thai. Lyttleton suggests that the fining system associated with pre-marital sex provide one basis for widespread acceptance of paid sex. However, he also draws on his ethnographic research in the village to indicate that there is a range of acceptance of engaging in commercial sex by men and in becoming a sex worker by women. He argues that there are a variety of forces operating in Thai society and that individuals internalize these often conflicting forces in different ways resulting in a range of behaviours and outcomes. Thus not all Thai men visit sex workers and not all poor Thai women become sex workers.

The strength of the book lies in the integration of the content analysis of media messages related to AIDS and the ethnographic-based analysis of sexuality in village life. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Endangered Relations: Negotiating Sex and AIDS in Thailand
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.