Review of “Love, Money, and HIV: Becoming a Modern African Woman in the Age of AIDS” (2014)
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Review of “Love, Money, and HIV: Becoming a Modern African Woman in the Age of AIDS” (2014)

Sanyu Mojola’s “Love, Cash, and HIV: Ending Up Being a Modern African Female in the Age of Help” (2014) provides an engaging, multilayered, processual account of the manner ins which altering concepts of modernity and the growth of a gendered market economy integrates with the physiological and environmental structure of HIV transmission threat to produce the outrageous injustice in HIV problem borne by females in Africa. She states, “Particularly, I show how consuming girls have actually been cultivated and produced, in 3 contexts– neighborhoods, schools, and labor markets” (p. 8). For her, the significantly gendered variations in HIV problem and experiences can just be effectively checked out by tracing the interwoven threads of the structuring market, its shaping force on cultural standards and personalities, and the ramifications for young womens’ look for love and desire in the middle of the specter of HIV. As Mojola explains, females are captured in between the culturally and institutionally cultivated need to take in– items, appeal items, everyday indications of status and modernity– while likewise being structurally left out from the large bulk of the official labor market and constant earnings capacity. The need for steady earnings causes introduction of numerous kinds of “transactional sexual relationships” that handle various kinds in various settings, however all aid to please consumptive requirements and standards.

Mojola was born in Tanzania however went to college in the UK and graduate school at the University of Chicago. As she as an outcome her writing has a psychological and intellectual distance that is uncommon. It makes the proof– qualitative and quantitative– even more engaging. As she states, “I was Robert Park’s ‘minimal (wo) guy”, belonging, yet not rather belonging, comprehending yet not rather comprehending … Far from an impersonal and simply scholastic account, then, this book is a research study about the girls whose hazardous shifts I may have needed to pass through other than for the unusual turns my life has actually taken” (p. 27-28). Utilizing a life-course structure to study youths’s shift to the adult years in the context of the HIV epidemic, she set in motion interviews with 185 individuals (youths, middle-aged grownups, and older grownups) from the Nyanza province of Kenya; population-based study information from Kenya; and, ethnographic field work.

Mojola’s main puzzle is: what social forces lead females to be so exceptionally susceptible to HIV infection in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly the eastern part of the continent? Research study on the problem tends to concentrate on 3 broad sets of interrelated causal elements– biophysiological, near descriptions, and social structural causes. Biophysiological elements consist of the relationship of female anatomy/physiology and its relationship to HIV transmission capacity. Proximate descriptions tend to concentrate on the age initially sex, the variety of sexual partners, prophylactic usage, the structure of sexual networks, and migration patterns. Mojola recognizes one crucial social-structural cause, which is the main analytic lens of the book: intake She checks out the how socially produced intake desires form habits and ensuing threat for contracting HIV; how intake runs within networks and organizations (such as schools and labor markets) to form HIV threat; and, how the structuring characteristics of intake patterns are comparable throughout high-prevalence settings throughout Africa.

Mojola starts her substantive argument by tracing the phenomenology of “modernity” as experienced by girls, transitioning to the adult years, in sub-Saharan Africa. Globalized ideas of taste, marketing and media allow brand names and intake patters to be encompassed even locations “remote” from the metropole/former colonial centers. In locations marked by considerable hardship, “intake is offered utilized and at a deep discount rate– through pre-owned North Face clothes that has actually made its method from Western charities, for instance, or through low-cost pay-as-you-go Nokia smart phones” (p. 34). This contemporary (post-modern?) type of intake has a considerably gendered measurement: “the dominant signifier of modernity for girls is the purchase, intake, and display screen of contemporary items. Certainly, there is a sense in checking out these accounts that transactional relationships as a method for improved intake are an enduring part of the landscape of young African females’s relationships” (p. 36). As has actually most significantly been talked about by Viviana Zelizer and others, cash, deals, presents, sex, and intimacy are typically interwoven within relationships. Females and guys participate in “relational work” to keep culturally proper and approved matches in between cash, media, and morals within intimate relationships. This is no less real in the relationship kinds of young African females, and these structures have considerable ramifications for the observed variations in HIV rates. “In Kisumu, Nyanza, for instance, three-quarters of guys surveyed reported providing approximately 10% of their regular monthly earnings to their nonmarital, noncommercial sexual partners … deal in intimate relationships was the standard instead of the exception in this setting” (p. 37).

As has actually been shown in research study on “sugar daddies” and other kinds of specific and non-explicit kinds of transactional intimate relationships (in the U.S. and in other places), “when access to cash and resources is structurally constrained, transactional sex becomes a method of ‘redistribution and reciprocity in an unequal and unpredictable world,’ where guys’s dominant access to wealth and resources ‘obliges them’ to have concurrent sexual collaborations including transactional sex” (p. 42). Market needs for intake are for that reason totally connected to the gendered threat of contracting the all consuming disease of HIV/AIDS (“ Ayaki [Luo word for AIDS] originated from the root word yako, which implies to take in really quick, in such a method that display screens greed” (p. 51)). A fascinating aside is the parallelism in the conversation of intake in HIV and the history of tuberculosis as a consumptive illness. The entanglement of visual, ethical, cultural, and market needs for intake are structuring for the experience of transmittable illness transmission threat. The pursuit fo the raha— the excellent life of satisfaction and intake– formed the HIV epidemic which was “not simply consuming anybody; it was taking in girls” (p. 59).

Mojola explains the “fantastic change” of colonial/post-colonial settings in a Polanyian method: relationships, especially intimate ones, are ingrained within a complex, traditionally rooted matrix of ethical, ethical, and social significances and dedications. “It was not cash that pushed away or ‘introduced ethical confusion’ or that produced pushed away social exchange. Rather … ‘it is very important to comprehend the cultural matrix into which it is included” (p. 75). Cash and the consumptive market financial reasoning imbricated with existing historic standards of kinship, marital relationship, relationship, and sexual standards. Mojola shows 2 main kinds of transactional relationships that have actually emerged: relationships for education and relationships for sex. The previous, nevertheless, typically developed into the later on. “For lots of boys, the only reasonable exchange or benefit for the present of cash was making love in return. Kid did not always require to be rich, however required to have the capability to get or make money to assist their sweethearts” (p. 83). In Zelizerian terms, presents of money and consumptive items (appeal and other types) [the media] were matched with developing transactional relationships which were not poisoned, or “polluted” by such money and “financial” deals, however were in fact imbued with extra significance and ethical significance as an outcome. “ Both sex and cash revealed love. Simply put, love = sex + arrangement” (p. 87).

These personalities were actively cultivated in girls, as checked out by Mojola, in 2 main organizations: the school and the labor market. Puzzlingly, females with more education are observed to have greater rates of threat for contracting HIV. “The thinking goes, if education has such remarkable impacts on one sexually transferred condition– fertility– why not on HIV/AIDS?” (p. 114). Her description depends upon the manner ins which structural procedures and standards, refracted through gendered practices, formed the concept of a “contemporary schoolgirl” as “Consuming girls [that] had desires that might just be pleased by intake, desires that were thought about requirements and important to schoolgirls’ change” (p. 132). This culturally disciplining nature of the need for ending up being a contemporary, consuming, girl integrated with the standards of participating in transactional relationships with working-class guys to get cash to spend for those requirements, is Mojola’s primary description for the linkage in between increased education and increased HIV threat.

Lastly, the gendered nature of the economy and the structure of the labor market was another manner in which the ingrained kinds of financial and suggesting making ended up being knotted in and produced the threats of contracting HIV. As she specifies, “In specific, the primarily one-way transfer of cash and presents– from guys to females– in transactional relationships show the truth that in a lot of settings, guys have fairly higher access to cash and resources due to the gendered structure of regional economies” (p. 151). This gender-structured labor market intensified the sociocultural/economic structures that produced unequal HIV transmission threat. The structural detach in between the growing of young, contemporary, consumptive girls in the emerging mass education system and the exemption of females from the labor market and official income-generating systems that would be needed to fund this consumptive need, produced the requirement for transactional sexual relationships with guys. “They needed to be continuous customers and hence continuous transactors” (p. 169).

Mojola ends this book with a call to action: “The a great deal of girls presently starting their sexual lives in high HIV-prevalence environments recommend that policy actions (or nonactions) carried out in the next 5 to 10 years might effectively figure out the course of the HIV pandemic in Africa” (p. 183). She requires continued individual-level interventions such education and awareness raising, however likewise declares that this will be inadequate. As is the subject of this book, modification will just accompany modifications in the socio-structural factors of HIV transmission: altering the school environment, punishing sexual relationships in between instructors and trainees, legislating and making paying tasks more offered to girls. Many appealing is her short summary of the capacity of conditional (and genuine) money transfers to schoolgirls for HIV avoidance. By decreasing the structural/economic pull that girls feel in their pursuit of achieving the function of achieving success young, consuming, contemporary females, possibly the trajectory of the HIV pandemic can be changed.

Some crucial concerns that turn up for me:

  • Mojola appears to base her theoretical contribution structure off of a mix of Zelizer and Granovetter: networks and organizations structurally form the networks of relationships (the circuits) through which HIV is transferred, however likewise strengthen the cultural feel, visual view, and ethical significances connected with these deals, interactions, and sometimes loving/intimate relationships. While this does appear like an effective case example of embeddedness and relational operate in an understudied setting/population– with crucial policy ramifications– what does it contribute to sociological theory?
  • While she plainly engaged with girls who remained in hard straights, her participants/ sample does appear to be fairly well off, metropolitan, school-bound females. She clearly states on numerous events that these were not transactional relationships of need ( in order to consume, have shelter), however rather the requirements revealed by the girls were structured by the need to take in along the lines determined by the cultural pursuit of modernity. I question if this provides a restriction or merely a purposeful focus for the structure of her research study style?
  • A concern that increases for me after having read this research study is how the official health care system forms/ effects these cultural standards any of these socio-cultural structural factors? If the school system (which probably has a far more effective shaping function) shapes and transfers standards, how could the health care system exist in schools, or more offered in contexts where their avoidance activities could be enhanced?
  • How does this research study converge with James Ferguson’s (and others) deal with money transfers? Would enjoy to discuss this in the context of “Provide a Guy a Fish.”

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