'When the skies fight': HIV, violence and pathways of precarity in South Africa

Mills, Elizabeth (2017) 'When the skies fight': HIV, violence and pathways of precarity in South Africa. Reproductive Health Matters, 24 (47). pp. 85-95. ISSN 0968-8080

[img] PDF - Accepted Version
Restricted to SRO admin only until 18 January 2018.

Download (527kB)

Abstract

Based on multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork in South Africa, this article explores the skies that fight, the proverbial lightning strikes that bring HIV into women's lives and bodies. Departing from earlier studies on ARV programmes in and beyond South Africa, and broadening out to explore the chronic struggle for life in a context of entrenched socio-economic inequality, this article presents findings on women's embodiment of and strategic resistance to structural and interpersonal violence. These linked forms of violence are discussed in light of the concept of precarity. Across two sections, the findings trace the pathways through which precarity entered women's lives, drawing on verbal, visual and written accounts collected through participant observation, participatory photography and film, and journey mapping. In doing so, the ethnography articulates the intersection of structural and interpersonal violence in women's lives. It also reveals the extent to which women exert a 'constrained agency', on the one hand, to resist structural violence and reconfigure their political relationship with the state through health activism; and, on the other hand, to shift the gender dynamics that fuel interpersonal violence through a careful navigation of intimacy and independence.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: HIV; South Africa; gender; precarity; violence
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Anthropology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology > GN301 Ethnology. Social and cultural anthropology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology > GN301 Ethnology. Social and cultural anthropology > GN397 Applied anthropology
Depositing User: Elizabeth Mills
Date Deposited: 28 Nov 2016 16:53
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2017 05:35
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/65725

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update