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Accepted Paper:

Living with HIV/AIDS and becoming an activist in Brazil: protagonism, dilemmas and disputes in the biosocial mobilization of an epidemic  
Carlos Guilherme Valle (Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, MARC Universitat Rovira i Virgili)

Paper Short Abstract:

This presentation deals with the formation of Brazilian HV/AIDS activism as a particular mode of social mobilization of people with wide heterogeneity (gender, sexuality, class, race, etc.), which operated as a moral matrix and political commitment in relation to health, rights and citizenship.

Paper Abstract:

From an anthropological and historical perspective, I will discuss how the HIV/AIDS epidemic was a critical event that forged social and political mobilization in Brazil, relating to global AIDS activism. The social mobilization of people with wide heterogeneity (gender, sexuality, class, race, etc.) operated as a moral condition and political commitment in relation to health, rights and citizenship against stigmatization and the so-called “civil death”. Since the mid-1980s, there has been a growing social and political mobilization from NGOs, patient associations and social networks, configuring a specific social world with complex relationships with civil society and the State. I would like to address the contrast between social categories of political leadership, such as militant and activist, which expose particular meanings in historical terms and in the formation of social movements. In this way, I will address the dynamics of training, recruitment, membership and permanence (or not) of people in a relevant Brazilian AIDS NGO. The internal social differentiation between volunteers and activists also reflected biosocial differences in terms of the experience of living with illness or not. Training as an AIDS “activist” implied acquiring moral and political requirements such as greater awareness, intimate/personal responsibility and greater control over correct information, which produced lay expertise. Likewise, I intend to discuss the impasses in the actions of activists in key government positions in state administration and in the production of public policies. I start from my own trajectory as an activist, anthropologist and university professor, which places me in different positions over four decades of the epidemic.

Panel P238
Becoming/ being an activist: reflections on a key political subjectivity of late capitalism
  Session 2 Friday 26 July, 2024, -