By Anika Wilson (auth.)

Informal people narrative genres equivalent to gossip, suggestion, rumor, and concrete legends supply a distinct window into well known formations of AIDS and gender clash in Africa. the 1st ebook at the topic to attract totally on such narratives, this ebook exhibits how they supply wealthy insights into the struggles of individuals dwelling in an period of social upheaval.

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Additional resources for Folklore, Gender, and Aids in Malawi: No Secret Under the Sun

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These narratives that speak to a gendered experience of helplessness and vulnerability echo throughout the region and dramatize the media-fed notion of a gender battle sparked by efforts of international human rights organizations. Young women who have collective fantasies of phantom rape are not so much dreaming of an initiation into their lives as sexual beings; but rather they are being initiated into lives of violated sexuality. In these stories even husbands have not been able to stop men from stealing sex from their wives.

There is a certain group that is making a kind of critical ref lection in the society whereas the rest of the group is just down there-they’re abiding by the cultural practices. They are abiding by them. They are saying, no, our forefathers used to do this way and we’ll do the things in the same way. We cannot change. But now there are people who are ref lecting on these cultural values to say, no, when [they] are beaten—it’s a question of being beaten and you cannot call the husband—the police.

They infer HIV serostatus of others through these sexual histories and sometimes use this information in choosing sexual partners (Kaler, 2004a; Poulin, 2007; Reniers, 2003; 2005; Schatz, 2002; Watkins, 2004). Sociologist Tamotsu Shibutani (1966) says that rumors arise in ambiguous situations, often some kind off crisis in which people pool their information in order to solve a problem. Rumor can thus form a basis for action. Speculation about the sexual histories of neighbors and relatives often functions as a preventative measure, forming a response to the problem of a possibly hidden disease.

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