Religion and AIDS Treatment in Africa: Saving Souls, by Hansjörg Dilger

By Hansjörg Dilger

This publication significantly interrogates rising interconnections among faith and biomedicine in Africa within the period of antiretroviral therapy for AIDS. Highlighting the advanced relationships among spiritual ideologies, practices and corporations at the one hand, and biomedical remedy programmes and the clinical languages and public wellbeing and fitness associations that maintain them at the different, this anthology charts mostly exposed terrain within the social technological know-how examine of the Aids epidemic.Spanning various areas of Africa, the authors supply exact entry to concerns on the interface of faith and scientific humanitarianism and the manifold healing traditions, spiritual practices and moralities as they co-evolve in events of AIDS therapy. This booklet additionally sheds new mild on how non secular areas are shaped based on the dilemmas humans face with the advent of life-prolonging remedy programmes.

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I had been invited to attend the wrap-up of the conference by one of its organizers, with the prospect of interviewing some of those present. Instead, I became the interviewee: my seven interlocutors asked me to speak at length about my research to date, and particularly about my insights into the history of Muslim congregations within Tanzania. In effect, the organizers were making sure that I appreciated their view of their own history, as a group with deep roots not only on the Swahili Coast, but also elsewhere on the mainland, and one that had been deeply involved in opposition to colonialism.

He defends the concepts of governmentality and subject formation and suggests that, in order to elucidate the empirical diversity of such processes, they can be fruitfully construed in terms of the different logics of what – drawing on Bourdieu’s theory of practice – he calls ‘therapeutic habitus’. He defines the therapeutic habitus as the embodied generative principles that mediate the complex relationships between the objective circumstances of patients and their therapeutic ideas, beliefs, orientations and practices.

Put differently, the aim is to place the examination of subject formation in a wider context than that of ART provision and counselling and to trace some of the processes at play here to a longer history of Africans making sense of AIDS. The above-mentioned observations on subject formation have immediate plausibility. Even with ART, an HIV-positive diagnosis remains a personal crisis and learning to live with it is likely to require a profound reorientation. Patients have to reconsider their relationships, their use of their body and their place in the world.

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