lundi 10 novembre 2014

Construction de l'identité HIV positive

From ‘Any Woman’ Thrush to Pitiful AIDS: The Construction of HIV-Positive Identities in Just Seventeen Magazine, 1983-1997

Hannah Elizabeth, University of Manchester

Date, Time and Location:
Wednesday 26th November 2014

Venue: St Clement's, S314, LSE 

Abstract: It is commonly suggested that HIV/AIDS had a marked effect on the frankness with which sex was represented to adolescents in Britain. Certainly the threat of AIDS gave sexual health educators a further mandate for talking about sex, but emphasis on this change often gives the impression of previous silences before, and an immediate transformation after, AIDS. An exploration into any teenage media’s representations of AIDS reveals a more complex story.  This paper will explore the development of early AIDS representations produced for the consumption of teenage girls by focusing on Just Seventeen magazine and the development of its earliest representations of AIDS. Sex was talked about in the magazine before AIDS was first portrayed in 1985, the changes in representational practices it encouraged were less a change in the discourse around sex and more the addition of new narratives about the risks involved in sex, sexually-diseased or ‘at risk’ identities, and the purpose of contraception. The paper will then argue that though AIDS coverage in Just Seventeen changed significantly between 1985 and 1997, with new narratives, characters and focuses added to their representational repertoire, ideologically the underlying motives behind the magazine’s portrayals of the disease and ‘at risk’ and HIV-positive identities did not change radically. Whilst sex and death certainly sell, the representation of AIDS in Just Seventeen was motivated by more than profit and Health Education Authority edicts; early coverage in the magazines displays a will to both prevent its predominantly white middleclass heterosexual underage female readership from panic and prejudice. Later, when the focus of AIDS-education was largely dominated by safer-sex practices, the victim-blaming narrative which suggested those who risked sex without a condom were to blame for their HIV-positivity was juxtaposed by extensive sympathetic coverage of reasons why teenagers continued to practice ‘unsafe sex’.

Hannah Elizabeth is a second year PhD student based in CHSTM and in History at the University of Manchester. She is currently researching and writing her PhD thesis on the representation of HIV-positive identities to children and young adults in Britain, 1981-1997. Previously she completed an MA in Cultural History at the University of Manchester, where her thesis examined the representation of nuclear war in British children’s literature. Her general research interests are in the history of gender, sexuality, disease and childhood.

About the Seminar Series
The London PUS seminar is an interdisciplinary intercollegiate seminar concerned with the broad range of topics that fall under the headings of public understanding of science, public engagement with science, science communication, and science-in-society. It has been run jointly between LSE and UCL since 1993 and is open to all. Our participants predominantly come from a wide range of academic disciplines, and the science policy and science communication/public engagement communities. It is currently supported by the Public Understanding of Science journal published by SAGE and the Department of Science and Technology Studies, UCL.

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