Becoming a Target: Innovatively Categorizing Men for Global Health in Africa
(University of Amsterdam)
Paper short abstract:
This paper focuses differently positioned men targeted by Kenya's HIV prevention apparatus. It examines the ways adolescent boys, men who have sex with men, and expecting fathers are "made up" with little attention to the elephant in the HIV prevention room: class differences.
Paper long abstract:
This provocation will entice the audience to think critically about (re)categorization and imaginaries of risk in the context of global health interventions in Africa. Drawing on long-term ethnographic research carried out primarily in Kenya on HIV prevention, I focus on the ways that differently positioned men have come to be targeted by Kenya's HIV prevention apparatus. Building on Ian Hacking's work, I examine the ways that adolescent boys, men who have sex with men, and expecting fathers are "made up" in specific ways with little attention to the elephant in the HIV prevention room: class differences. By focusing on gender and sexuality, HIV interventions routinely overlook the extent to which class shapes HIV risk, thereby reinforcing outdated assumptions that HIV is a disease driven by poverty in Africa. There is growing evidence, epidemiological and otherwise, that middle-class African men are among those least likely to be reached by global health interventions of any kind—specifically HIV interventions. What is behind our failure to take class seriously in HIV prevention? What might be gained by recognizing and engaging with this particular elephant from the perspective of public health, but also anthropology? What happens to social theories of gender inequality, agency and risk if we reconfigure middle-class men as "at risk"?
Sorting, typing, classifying: the elephants in 'our' rooms [Anthropology of Race and Ethnicity Network; Medical Anthropology Network] [Roundtable]