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When Bodies RememberExperiences and Politics of AIDS in South Africa$
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Didier Fassin

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780520244672

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520244672.001.0001

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Anatomy of the Controversies

Anatomy of the Controversies

(p.75) Three Anatomy of the Controversies
When Bodies Remember

Didier Fassin

University of California Press

Several commentators on the South African controversies over AIDS have realized that the intellectual landscape of the AIDS epidemic has been reduced to simple terms. The terms cover medicine and science, people of goodwill and good sense, efficacy and truth, on one side and on the other, a president and a few dissidents, corrupt politicians and quack scientists, incompetence and error. Two facts make the controversy surrounding AIDS in South Africa different from those usually studied by sociologists of science. First, though bearing mainly on scientific matters, the polemics run in all directions to the extent that beyond academia where scientific polemics usually take place, all of society has been drawn in, albeit to varying degrees and in different ways. Second, though they concern knowledge and its modes of production and validation, the controversy triggers immediate action. The controversies over AIDS can also be said to be political because they bear on the government of human beings.

Keywords:   AIDS, scientific matters, public health, vertical infection, nevirapine

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