2010. 17 p.
Journal of Education Policy, Vol. 25, No. 4
Set against trans- or supra-national policy initiatives which have framed the HIV/ AIDS pandemic as in part a pedagogical issue, this paper critically explores local understandings of sexual practices (generally) as well as of HIV/AIDS (more specifically) among young people in the sub-Saharan African country of Ethiopia. Ethiopia has the third largest number of HIV/AIDS infections in the world, behind only South Africa and India. Like many countries dealing with this pandemic, the Ethiopian government has articulated its response to a broader set of global presses, including those around information and education. Such responses, we will argue, are helpful but have important limitations. As this study shows, knowledge about safer sex practices and the dangers of HIV/AIDS are by now well known among many Ethiopian youth. Yet, this knowledge does not always effect behavioral change. Taking condom use as a key exemplar, we will look at how Ethiopian youth narrate their own sexual experiences, conduct, and practices. Deeply informed by the work of Pierre Bourdieu, we look to open new 'thinking tools' for a range of actors addressing this global pandemic in situated contexts. In particular, we challenge the 'pedagogical subject' - a subject lacking key information - interpolated into many of these policies. We highlight, instead, new disjunctures between emergent discourses around sex and sexuality as well as long-standing, conservative attitudes toward gender.
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