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Perceptual change through transnational experience : American exchange students and HIV/AIDS

Includes bibliographical references (p. 83-97). / Includes abstract. / This thesis considers the power of United States popular media to construct both conceptions of "Africa" and knowledge of HN / AIDS among exchange students in Cape Town, South Africa. Arguing that the reification of myths about Africa influenced respondents' arrival stories and initial experiences, I exhibit how being in South Africa produced very different associations, particularly with regard to intimate relationships. Drawing on theoretical work that looks at the tendency to imagine disease as a product of "foreign" or "other" people, and building on respondents' imaginary Africa, the conceptual linking of Africa to AIDS is highlighted in their discussions of expectations. The linking of HN / AIDS to Africa affects respondents decision to study in South Africa, as well as their initial interactions; highlighting the tendency of respondents to describe their motivation for studying in South Africa a result of a sense of "responsibility" they feel to "save" Africans from AIDS. Respondents' urge to "save" is in tension with their initial tendency to distance themselves from HIV / AIDS in Africa through an imaginary matrix of immunity exhibited through rhetorics of difference. Evolving from respondents' motivation to "save," a discussion of "moral tourism" and ''voluntouring'' is explored. The thesis argues that the combination of voluntary services and living in Cape Town has the ability to change perceptions that were previously used as explanation for high levels of contraction rates of HIV / AIDS on the African continent and particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.
Date January 2008
CreatorsAbrams, Amber
ContributorsLevine, Susan
PublisherUniversity of Cape Town, Faculty of Humanities, Aids and Society Research Unit
Source SetsSouth African National ETD Portal
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeMaster Thesis, Masters, MPhil

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