The Harmful Consequences of Living with HIV in Contemporary Society

Priscilla Medeiros


Recent research conducted on the topic of risk has predominantly focused on the measurability of an event occurring in modern society. Although attempts are made to incorporate the theoretical examination of social dimensions in the study of risk, considerable diversity remains in defining the nature of risk. This paper employs Foucault (2008), Beck (1992), and Douglas (1992) to understand the class-based positioning that occurs to define the concept of risk and explores the effect of these understandings on the population. The inclusion of individual understandings of harm can assist in rendering invisible hazards, reduce contradictory understandings of risk in social systems, and direct social research beyond the measurability of ill events.

Keywords: risk, risk society, political, harm


Full Text:



Anderson, Christopher. 1991. “Cholera Epidemic Traced to Risk Miscalculation.” Nature 354:255.

Baer, Hans, Merrill Singer, and Ida Susser. 2003. Medical Anthropology and the World System 2nd edition. Westport: Praeger Publishers.

Beck, Ulrich. 2009. World at Risk. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Beck, Ulrich. 1992. Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.

Bellaby, Paul. 1990. “To Risk or Not to Risk? Uses and Limitations of Mary Douglas on Risk-taking Acceptability for Understanding Health and Safety at Work and Road Accidents.” The Sociological Review 38:465-483.

Boholm, Asa. 2003. “The Cultural Nature of Risk: Can there be an Anthropology of Uncertainty.” Ethos 68:159-178.

Boholm, Asa. 1996. “Risk Perception and Social Anthropology: Critique of Cultural Anthropology.” Ethos 6: 64-84.

Briggs, Charles. 1986. Learning How to Ask: A Sociolinguistic Appraisal of the Role of the Interview in Social Science Research. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Canada. Justice Laws Website. Tobacco Act (S.C. 1997, c. 13). 1997.

Caplan, Pat. 2000. “Introduction: Risk Revisited.” In Risk Revisited, edited by Pat Caplan, 1-28. London: Pluto Press.

Denney, David. 2005. Risk and Society. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.

Douglas, Mary. 1992. Risk and Blame: Essays in Cultural Theory. London: Routledge.

Douglas, Mary, and Aaron Wildavsky. 1983. Risk and Culture: An Essay on the Selection of Technological and Environmental Dangers. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Foucault, Michel. 2008. The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the College de France, 1978-1979. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.

Foucault, Michel. 1991. The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality. Graham Burchell, Colin Gordon and Peter Miller, eds. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Foucault, Michel. 1977. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. London: Penguin Books.

Fox, Nick. 1999. “Postmodern Reflections of Risk, Hazards and Life Courses.” In Risk and Sociocultural Theory: New Directions and Perspectives, edited by Deborah Lupton, 12-13. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.

Frailich, Rachel. 2009. “Motivations for Bug Chasing: Moving towards a Model of Social Exclusion as a Factor in Self Harm.” PhD diss., Adler School of Professional Psychology.

Gilbert , Dorie. 2003. “The Sociocultural Construction of AIDS among African American Women.” In African American Women and HIV/AIDS: A Critical Response, edited by Dorie Gilbert and Ednita Wright, 5-28. Westport: Praeger.

Hallinan, Dara, and Michael Friedewald. 2012. “Public Perceptions of Modern Surveillance Technologies: A Selected Survey Analysis of the Public Perception and Acceptance of New Surveillance Technologies.” Social Science Research Network 1-11. Accessed August 27, 2014. doi:10.2139/ssrn.2376651.

Higgs, Paul. 1998. “Chapter 9: Risk, Governmentality and there Conceptualization of Citizenship.” In Modernity, Medicine and Health: Medical Sociology towards 2000, edited by Graham Scrambler, and Paul Higgs, 176-197. London: Routledge.

Johnson, Joy, Joan Bottorff, Annette Browne, Sukhdev Grewal, Ann Hilton, and Heather Clark. 2004. “Othering and Being Othered in the Context of Health Care Services.” Health Communication 16:253-271.

Klaidman, Stephen. 1990. “How Well the Media Report Health Risk.” Daedalus 119:119-132.

Kowalewski, Mark, Kevin Henson, and Douglas Longshore. 1997. “Rethinking Perceived Risk and Health Behavior: A Critical Review of HIV Prevention Research.” Health Education and Behavior 24:313-325.

Lemke, Thomas. 2001. “The Birth of Bio-Politics: Michel Foucault’s Lecture at the Collège de France on Neo-liberal Governmentality.” Economy and Society 30:190-207.

Lidskog, Rolf, and Goran Sundqvist. 2013. “Sociology of Risk.” In Essentials of Risk Theory, edited by Sabine Roeser, Rafaela Hillerbrand, Per Sandin, and Martin Peterson, 75-106. Delft: Springer.

Lupton, Deborah. 2006. “Sociology and Risk.” In Beyond the Risk Society: Critical Reflections on Risk and Human Security, edited by Gabe Mythen, and Sandra Walklate, 11-24. England: Open University Press.

Lupton, Deborah. 1999a. Risk. London: Routledge.

Munro, Margaret. 2014. “Prolific University of Calgary Doctor Heads to B.C. after his Team Caught Faking Data,” The Vancouver Sun, September 8.

Lupton, Deborah. 1999b. “Introduction: Risk and Sociocultural Theory.” In Risk and Sociocultural Theory: New Directions and Perspectives, edited by Deborah Lupton, 1-11. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.

National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health. 2011. “The Aboriginal Health Legislation and Policy Framework in Canada,” last modified January 1,

Nichter, Mark. 2008. Global Health: Why Cultural Perceptions, Social Representations, and Biopolitics Matter. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press.

Oltedal, Sigve, Bjarg-Elin Moen, Hroar Klempe, and Torbjørn Rundmo. 2004. Explaining Risk Perception: An Evaluation of Cultural Theory. Norway:

Rotunde Publikasjoner.

Petersen, Alan, and Iain Wilkinson. 2008. “Health, Risk and Vulnerability: An Introduction.” In Health, Risk and Vulnerability, edited by Alan Petersen, and Iain Wilkinson, 1-15. London: Routledge.

Sapolsky, Harvey. 1990. “The Politics of Risk.” Daedalus 119:83-96.

Singer, Merrill, and J. Bryan Page. 2014. The Social Value of Drug Addicts Uses of the Useless. California: Left Coast Press.

The Royal Society. 1992. Risk: Analysis, Perception and Management: Report of a Royal Society Study Group. London: The Royal Society.

Trostle, James. 2005. Epidemiology and Culture. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Yavchitz, Amélie, Isabelle Boutron, Aida Bafeta, Ibrahim Marroun, Pierre Charles, Jean Mantz, and Philippe Ravaud. 2012. Misrepresentation of Randomized Controlled Trails in Press Releases and News Coverage: A Cohort Study. PLos Medicine 9:1-11.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2016 NEXUS: The Canadian Student Journal of Anthropology

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.