Accepted paper:

HIV-trajectories: struggles of marginalized people from Central and Eastern Europe living with HIV/AIDS in Berlin to gain access to health care and social welfare


Pawel Lewicki (Europa-Universität Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder))

Paper short abstract:

Marginalized and migrating people living with HIV/AIDS from Central and Eastern Europe in Berlin manage different elements of their subjectivity in order to access health and “good life”. I show how these practices reveal imperial dynamics in health and social/labor policies of the German state.

Paper long abstract:

Since decades Berlin enjoys a reputation of particularly liberal and tolerant space, not least for all kinds of gender and sexual identities. Such reputation, apart from attracting white middle-class homosexuals from Western Europe and North America seeking sex, appeals to marginalized sexual and gender minorities from all over the world, and - due to proximity - particularly to those from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and from the new member states (NMS) of the EU. Based on ethnographic research on trajectories of marginalized people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) from CEE and the NMS who seek help at an anti-HIV organization in Berlin, I show an (European) imperial dynamic (Stoler 2011) that becomes visible both in everyday struggles over access to health and social welfare of marginalized PLWHA and in their imaginations about living in "the West". I focus on interplay of race, class, gender, sexuality and health/legal status in order to show different strategies and tactics of subjectification beyond national and EU borders. These managements of identities should enable survival and "livable life" in conditions of marginalization and precarity beyond national and EU borders. They reveal not only different and overlapping forms of "normalization" and discrimination of migrants in different locations, but also various coalitions and subversions against the reproduction of global, (post-)imperial inequalities inscribed in health and social/labor policies in the EU and in CEE countries.

panel P51
Mobilities of wellbeing