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Politics of women's empowerment in Nigerian HIV/AIDS prevention programmes: 2003-2007.

Madubuike, Chinweokwu Uzoamaka (2008) Politics of women's empowerment in Nigerian HIV/AIDS prevention programmes: 2003-2007. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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During the 1990s, empowerment through collective action became widely referred to by feminist anthropologists and health behaviouralists as a potential approach towards reducing HIV and AIDS amongst African women. However, conflicting understandings of empowerment ultimately positions African women as too disempowered to protect themselves from HIV and AIDS, but empowered enough through collective participation to challenge structural and gender inequalities that facilitate HIV transmission. By the next decade, many prevention programmes around the world were said to have been unsuccessful. This thesis explores these issues; first, by examining different understandings of empowerment; second, by investigating a potentially alternative model of participation underpinned by post-modern, feminist post-colonial and social psychological theory; and finally, by analysing women's own narratives of empowerment. To do so, this thesis reviews life histories of forty-five women aged between their twenties and sixties, participating in one of five women's associations. The movements and individuals were selected in order to consider the diversity of experiences across age, ethnicity, sexual identity, social class and religion. This consideration of the realities of women's lives found that gender and social identities shape women's individual and collective responses to HIV and AIDS in ways that extend beyond employing traditional prevention methods which are said to police sexual behaviour. Nevertheless, their diverse experiences also suggest alternative notions and sites of power, thus enabling them to employ strategies and charter avenues of agency that facilitate AIDS prevention in some contexts, but hinder it in others. These alternative notions of power and agency have implications for reconfiguring and expanding HIV and AIDS prevention and, possibly, gender relations. The thesis considers the extent to which alternative empowerment strategies, executed between the contours of donor- driven programmes and everyday reality, contribute to disrupting dominant discourses as well as gender norms and expectations predicated on tensions around representations of respectability, 'African' sexuality, spirituality, health and illness, and AIDS citizenship.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sub Saharan Africa Studies, Women's Studies, Health Sciences, Public Health
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses

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