Chapter Thirteen Postscript: Anthropology and AIDS

Douglas A. Feldman

Anthropologists have been involved in AIDS-related research and activities since the early 1980s. Today, there is the AIDS and Anthropology Research Group, with about 120 members, which produces a quarterly newsletter, holds national and regional meetings, and serves as a channel for the sharing of information by anthropologists working on AIDS. The American Anthropological Association has also appointed 23 anthropologists to form the AAA Task Force on AIDS. The Task Force is lobbying the United States Congress for AIDS-related funding, is preparing to review international AIDS policy from an anthropological perspective, is developing a teaching manual on AIDS and anthropology, and is preparing a special publication on the anthropology of AIDS. The International Commission on the Anthropology of AIDS was formed in 1988, and is based in Switzerland.

Anthropologists, as we have seen by the chapters in this volume, have engaged in a wide variety of AIDS-related activities and research projects. Anthropologists have conducted research analyzing sociocultural processes and change, have indeed become AIDS health educators, have become social workers for persons with AIDS, have conducted AIDS-related epidemiologic research, have used a remote sensing laboratory to map HIV patterns with cultural behavior, and have served as administrators for AIDS programs and community-based organizations. Indeed, the wide range of roles which anthropologists have assumed in our struggle against AIDS leads one inevitably to the question: Is there a unique role for anthropologists in AIDS-related research and activities?

Anthropologists, it is maintained here, can offer both a unique methodological approach to research and a unique conceptual framework for understanding the pandemic on a global level. Ethnography is the basic research method of cultural anthropologists (see Trotter 1988). It includes direct observation, participant

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Culture and AIDS
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Chapter One - Introduction: Culture and Aids 1
  • Chapter Two - Aids in Cultural, Historic, and Epidemiologic Context 9
  • Notes 23
  • References 24
  • Chapter Three - the Sick Role, Stigma, and Pollution: the Case of Aids 29
  • Notes 42
  • References 43
  • Chapter Four - Assessing Viral, Parasitic, and Sociocultural Cofactors Affecting Hiv-1 Transmission in Rwanda 45
  • Note 51
  • References 51
  • Chapter Five - Aids and the Pathogenesis of Metaphor 55
  • Note 64
  • References 65
  • Chapter Six - Aids and Accusation: Haiti, Haitians, and the Geography of Blame 67
  • Notes 88
  • References 89
  • Chapter Seven - Prostitute Women and the Ideology of Work in London 93
  • Notes 108
  • References 109
  • Chapter Eight Minority Women and Aids: Culture, Race, and Gender 111
  • Notes 128
  • References 131
  • Chapter Nine Language and Aids 137
  • Notes 157
  • References 158
  • Chapter Ten Aids and Obituaries: the Perpetuation of Stigma in the Press 159
  • References 168
  • Chapter Eleven Sex, Politics, and Guilt: A Study of Homophobia and the Aids Phenomenon 169
  • Note 181
  • References 181
  • Chapter Twelve Increasing the Cost of Living: Class and Exploitation in the Delivery of Social Services to Persons with Aids 183
  • Notes 198
  • References 201
  • Chapter Thirteen Postscript: Anthropology and Aids 205
  • Note 208
  • References 208
  • Index 209
  • ABOUT THE EDITOR AND CONTRIBUTORS 215
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