The changing political economy of sex in South Africa: The significance of unemployment and inequalities to the scale of the AIDS pandemic
AbstractBetween 1990 and 2005, HIV prevalence rates in South Africa jumped from less than 1% to around 29%. Important scholarship has demonstrated how racialized structures entrenched by colonialism and apartheid set the scene for the rapid unfolding of the AIDS pandemic, like other causes of ill-health before it. Of particular relevance is the legacy of circular male-migration, an institution that for much of the 20th century helped to propel the transmission of sexually transmitted infections among black South Africans denied permanent urban residence. But while the deep-rooted antecedents of AIDS have been noted, less attention has been given to more recent changes in the political economy of sex, including those resulting from the post-apartheid government's adoption of broadly neo-liberal policies. As an unintentional consequence, male migration and apartheid can be seen as almost inevitably resulting in AIDS, a view that can disconnect the pandemic from contemporary social and economic debates. Combining ethnographic, historical, and demographic approaches, and focusing on sexuality in the late apartheid and early post-apartheid periods, this article outlines three interlinked dynamics critical to understanding the scale of the AIDS pandemic: (1) rising unemployment and social inequalities that leave some groups, especially poor women, extremely vulnerable; (2) greatly reduced marital rates and the subsequent increase of one person households; and (3) rising levels of women's migration, especially through circular movements between rural areas and informal settlements/urban areas. As a window into these changes, the article gives primary attention to the country's burgeoning informal settlements--spaces in which HIV rates are reported to be twice the national average--and to connections between poverty and money/sex exchanges.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.
Volume (Year): 64 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 (February)
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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/315/description#description
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- Camlin, Carol S. & Kwena, Zachary A. & Dworkin, Shari L. & Cohen, Craig R. & Bukusi, Elizabeth A., 2014. "“She mixes her business”: HIV transmission and acquisition risks among female migrants in western Kenya," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 146-156.
- Michelle Poulin & Adamson S. Muula, 2011. "An inquiry into the uneven distribution of womenâ€™s HIV infection in rural Malawi," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 25(28), pages 869-902, December.
- Lori Hunter & John Reid-Hresko & Thomas Dickinson, 2011. "Environmental Change, Risky Sexual Behavior, and the HIV/AIDS Pandemic: Linkages Through Livelihoods in Rural Haiti," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer, vol. 30(5), pages 729-750, October.
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