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Mediated action and sexual risk: Searching for 'culture' in discourses of homosexuality and AIDS prevention in China

Jones, R. H. ORCID: (1999) Mediated action and sexual risk: Searching for 'culture' in discourses of homosexuality and AIDS prevention in China. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 1 (2). pp. 161-180. ISSN 1369-1058

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/136910599301085


This paper examines the concept of ‘culture’ and its relationship to HIV prevention. Culture is here seen as the interaction between human beings and the various ‘cultural tools’ they appropriate when taking action. Among these tools are ways of speaking which encode certain meanings, ideologies and social practices. When individuals take action with regard to AIDS, what they do is mediated through voices which they borrow strategically from their environ- ment. The textual tools that are available and the ways individuals adapt and combine them work to either limit or amplify their participation in HIV prevention. What are traditionally seen as ‘cultures’ or ‘sub-cultures’, or worse, ‘risk groups’, are, in this perspective, viewed as ‘communities of practice’, groups of individuals who share particular cultural tools and ways of using them. This conceptual framework is applied to recent discourses of homosexuality and AIDS prevention in China. An instance of ‘of� cial’ discourse in the form of an AIDS education pamphlet for ‘gays’ is analysed for the voices it contains and how these voices are strategically marshalled by the authors and mixed with other voices in ways which amplify participation in AIDS prevention for some and limit it for others. This ‘offical’ discourse is then compared to the discourse of homosexually active Chinese men recently interviewed in Beijing and Fuzhou to examine which of these of� cial voices and other voices they appropriate, and how they adapt these voices in responding to HIV.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism (CeLM)
Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Language and Applied Linguistics
ID Code:58362

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