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Strings AttachedAIDS and the Rise of Transnational Connections in Africa$
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Nadine Beckmann, Alessandro Gusman, and Catrine Shroff

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265680

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265680.001.0001

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Strings Attached: AIDS and the Rise of Transnational Connections in Africa

(p.1) 1 Introduction
Strings Attached

Nadine Beckmann

Alessandro Gusman

Catrine Shroff

Rijk van Dijk

British Academy

The AIDS pandemic has given rise to transnational connections through which ideas and resources in relation to HIV/AIDS flow between Western and African organisations, as well as between organisations on the African continent. This book argues that religious and faith-based organisations in Africa engage in these transnational connections, which have underlying, scripted, hidden, or rather explicit moral codes. In other words, there are strings attached. The Introduction outlines key strands of transnational theory and interrelations between religion, sexuality, and AIDS in Africa. It shows how matters of sexual morality have been at the centre of conservative political agendas and a central concern in religious and transnational public health interventions. It argues that this linkage between conservatism and a dominant trajectory in the flows of transnational resources, ideas, attitudes and expertise is deeply problematic, since it corroborates stereotyped ideas of what religion is doing in the context of AIDS and sexuality, while ignoring counter-movements among both Christian and Muslim organisations aiming to find other ways of approaching the moral dilemmas posed by HIV/AIDS. Moreover, this linkage raises the question of what exactly conservatism is in an African context.

Keywords:   HIV/AIDS, health, sexuality, religion, development, transnationalism, Africa

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