Theses & Dissertations
‘They have ears but they cannot hear’ Listening and talking as HIV prevention: a New Approach to HIV
Sexuality is made relevant in the way language is used as a matter of the identity of a group or individuals. Sex, for human beings, is not merely instinctive behaviour. It is meaningful-cultural behaviour and as such is semiotically loaded with meaning. Listening and talking about sex highlights conventions, taken-for-granted assumptions about the way things have to be done. Language as the most powerful representational system shapes our understanding of what we do and how we do them in relation to sex. Our understanding of sexual scripts about the sexuality of a particular group of people is through language as a signifying practice. The study of listening and talking is not merely an investigation of how sex is talked about, but how respondents enact sexuality and sexual identity vis-à-vis its linguistically loaded forms of representations in a variety of discourse genres. Representation and its inherent process of signification draws on lived experiences and the daily talk of people in interaction. A theoretical perspective is presented not as a model to be tested, but as testimony to the rich literature on the nature and function of language as a political arena, semiotically loaded with meanings that are taken for granted. It is concluded that the appropriation of cultural myths is encoded in language and as such language is a legitimate area of inquiry especially in understanding sexual scripts in the context HIV/AIDS. The study engages reported high risk sexual encounters such as multiple and concurrent partnerships, as well as unsafe sex practices which have been identified in literature as fanning the embers of the epidemic. Ideologies influencing developing communication campaigns in light of these discourses become a serious challenge as the conventional basis for such campaigns is in socio-cognitive theories, few of which can be assumed to apply with regard to the discursive representations of sexual practices and the inherent risks.
Drawing on a cross-sectional survey of 1400 students on seven campuses, conceptually triangulated via focused-ethnography, listening analysis and discourse analysis, this research 8
examines perceptions, interpretations, attitudes, and practices of sexuality and HIV/AIDS. The research is a multi-method and inter-disciplinary approach located within cultural studies to interrogate the gap between knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and behaviour modification in the light of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. This research discusses these findings and offers a critical appraisal of sexual behaviour in the context of ABC (Abstain, Be faithful, Condomise) as ideologically encoded in cultural and relational myths. I found that students are sexually active with reported multiple and concurrent sexual partnerships. Postgraduate students were less likely to report having had used a condom at their last coital encounter compared with the often younger undergraduate students. Condom use continues to be a norm in the universities surveyed. This is truer for students who reported multiple sexual partnerships. Amongst the dominant scripts that came out in the ethnographic inquiry are: sex as uncontrollable biological drive; females are responsible for safe sex practices; strong social scripts elevate male sexual prowess and show disdain for female affirmative sexualities, risk is discounted using a form of post modern fatalism (resistance to regulation); and physical status, based on appearance of a possible partner, is used to select ‘sexually safe’ partners. I have concluded that a deeper understanding of the cultural and sexual scripts obtained from students is critical for appropriate design and implementation of interventions aimed at stemming the tide of the HIV epidemic. I have also demonstrated that interventions that only emphasise the rational dimensions of human behaviour are more likely to miss their target audience as sex is more than a choice of Cartesian rationality (linear choice).
Keywords: Myth, ideology, sex, concurrency, discourses, HIV/AIDS, sexuality and multiple partners
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US and Them: loveLife, Commercial
AbstractThe issue of branding with regard to public health communication is the topic of this thesis. The case study investigated is that of the loveLife Lifestyle brand introduced to South Africa in 1999 by the US-based Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation. loveLife brought together the collective efforts of a consortium of NGOs concerned with adolescent reproductive health in South Africa with the primary objective of reducing the rate of new HIV infections, sexually transmitted infections and teenage pregnancy through promoting a healthy lifestyle approach using traditional commercial marketing techniques. This study draws upon the Circuit of Culture to explore the manner in which the meaning of the loveLife lifestyle brand discourse is constructed, produced, distributed and consumed through using a semiotic approach. To achieve this the study explores the meanings represented by loveLife through examining the images and texts from the television and radio programmes, outdoor media; print publications and public relations produced by loveLife. The manner in which these meanings were produced by loveLife as articulated in various policy documents. It explores how young people aged 12 – 17 from different socio-economic backgrounds consume and make meaning of the loveLife brand and use these in everyday life to express meaning about themselves in their social interaction and how carcereal networks of power comprising parents, religious groups and AIDS organizations have sought to regulate the meaning and social identities that arise from the representation of the brand. The study concludes that the representation of the loveLife lifestyle brand has given rise to a brand identity that positions adolescent sexuality as something that is cool and that everyone is engaged in. This representation has been the result of a deliberate brand strategy by loveLife that has sought to encourage more open discussions between parents and youth on issues relating to sex and sexuality. The unintentional…
Sex News – AIDS Education Media Development in South Africa
AIDS Education Media Development in South Africa
by Elaine Epstein
Dissertation submitted in fulfilment of the requirements of Master of Arts Degree in Media Studies at the University of Natal, Durban, South Africa. November 1997
This thesis explores various theoretical approaches to health education in an attempt to identify a model appropriate for developing a STD education media campaign in Hlabisa, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. In so doing, it demonstrates the limitations of both psycho-social and semiotic models of health education media development and the need for rearticulation and further development of these models.
Chapter One contextualises HIVIAIDS in terms of the South African experience and describes the strategies used to try and prevent the spread of the disease. The use and effectiveness of media as a prevention strategy, is discussed in detail.
Chapter Two reviews the current theoretical approaches to HIVIAIDS intervention development. In identih/ing the limitations of existing models of media campaign development, it demonstrates how one such model, the communication planning matrix, can be enhanced by reframing it in terms of semiotic communication theory. The appropriateness of this rearticulated model is demonstrated in Chapters Three and Four by its practical application to the development of the Hlabisa STD education mass media campaign.
Chapter Three discusses the development of the Hlabisa STD education campaign, focusing particularly on the formative phase of the development process. Chapter Four discusses the practical application of the rearticulated communication planning matrix to the development of media materials in the Hlabisa STD education campaign. It describes the process of media selection, message construction and pretesting of pilot materials.
Chapter Five demonstrates the appropriateness of the theoretical approach used to develop the Hlabisa media campaign. Analysis of the pretest results, in terms of the campaign’s effect on and receptivity of the target audience, is used to validate the effectiveness of this approach. Based on the lessons learned from the Hlabisa STD education campaign, a list of criteria necessary for the development of mass media campaigns aimed at changing attitudes and behaviour about STDs and HIV/AIDS is suggested.
“An assessment of students’ perceptions of the ABC prevention strategy
“An assessment of students’ perceptions of the ABC prevention strategy: Toward students’ participation in HIV/AIDS message design at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.”
In South Africa there are general studies that aim to understand HIV prevalence and specific surveys for target groups. However there is a gap in research that relates particularly to university students active participation in HIV/AIDS prevention messaging. This study explores the use of the Communication for Social Change (CFSC) theory with students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban. The study takes the form of a survey, using researcher administered questions with 400 students at the Westville and Howard College campus to understand their perceptions of the ‘Abstinence, Be faithful and Condomise’ prevention strategy. Two focus groups were conducted at both campuses to further analyse the survey findings, with a particular reference to the use of dialogue to actively engage students in discussions about HIV/AIDS prevention messages. The study traces the origin of CFSC through a review of the development communication theories (which include modernization theory, dependency theory, development support communication and another development). The survey revealed that students were not supportive of programmes with a top-down flow of communication. Students at both campuses welcomed the role that dialogue could play to encourage student participation in the design of a new HIV/AIDS prevention message. Some of the findings from the survey showed that 91% of students at both campuses motivated in favour of students as active participants in HIV/AIDS communication processes. The findings from the focus group also revealed that students did not find the ABC message effective, and strongly promoted a revision of this message which should include ‘accountability’ and ‘responsibility’ as part of the HIV/AIDS prevention strategy.
Lost in interpretation? Creating meaning from loveLife’s HIV: Face it billboards
Martins, R. (2007). Lost in interpretation? Creating meaning from loveLife’s HIV: Face it billboards.
Degree: M.A. (66% Dissertation)
Supervisor: Prof. R. E. Tomaselli
This research presents a reception analysis of loveLife’s ‘HIV: face it’ billboards by youth aged 12 – 17 years old, loveLife‘s target audience for the campaign under scrutiny. The study sought to find out whether the intended audience derived the same meanings from the billboards as they were initially intended by loveLife; whether the target youth regard themselves as audience of the communicated campaign; and to assess whether loveLife billboard producers have succeeded in communicating the intended message to the readers of the billboards. To achieve this, the study adopted a qualitative method of data collection by conducting two focus group discussions.
One focus group was selected from a rural school in KwaZulu Natal and another one from an urban school of the same province. Participants were all youth between the ages 12 – 17 years old. The circuit of culture was used as the theoretical framework. The circuit of culture is a composition of certain moments in the communication process namely: representation, identity, production, consumption and regulation [see diagram.1]. For the purpose of this research only one moment of the circuit, namely representation was adopted for the study. Representation is an essential part of the process through which meaning is produced and exchanged between members of a culture. It involves the use of language, signs and images that stand for or represent things. Findings from the study show that respondents assigned different meanings to loveLife billboards. The study also found that urban dwellers identified more closely as audiences for the loveLife billboards than rural dwellers. loveLife’s messages are not being decoded by the target audience in the initially intended manner. A majority of the respondents negotiated meaning in an attempt to understand what loveLife is trying to communicate because the billboards’ objectives are not straight forward.
Yizo, Yizo: This is it?
Yizo, Yizo: This is it? Representations and receptions of violence and gender relations
Yizo Yizo, a South African drama series aired in 1999, received extraordinary positive and negative attention for its gritty depictions of township school life. The dissertation explores the relationship between the context, programme/text, the viewers/audiences, the content and the form of Yizo Yizo.
Representations of violence and gender relations in Yizo Yizo are the primary concern of the dissertation. Contextual analysis is followed by an outline of the narrative needed to engage viewers’ responses. This outline forms the basis for a discussion on representations of violence and gender relations, utilising textual and audience analysis to interrogate the nature of images. Concluding chapters connect issues of representation and reality, completing the critical circle introduced in the opening chapters through an analysis of the programme’s title,.
Yizo Yizo is examined using a cultural studies approach, assessing “the relationship between texts — representations that produce meanings— and their contexts” (Tomaselli, 1989:38). The methodology employed to deconstruct representations of violence, gender relations and realism, follows recent work on ‘facticity’ and essentialism in African-American cultural production (Smith, 1992; Lubiano, 1997).
In reference to depictions of violence and gender relations, the dissertation follows the established monographs of the British Broadcasting Standards Council (BSc), the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) of the United Kingdom, and the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) of South Africa (Gunter, 1986, 1987; Gunter and Wober, 1988; Cumberbatch and Howitt, 1989; Glanz 1994, respectively).
Utilising textual and reception analysis, the study found Yizo Yizo’s use of violence is substantiated through its dramatic intent. However, the drama fell short of exposing the ‘myths’ of township high schools. Thus, the viewer is left with dominant depictions of evil as responsible for the state of disequilibrium, leaving little room for an interrogation of the ‘real’ issues at Supatselo High. The series also side steps the historical context that impacts the present conditions of township learning. Moreover, the portrayal of female characters in the series perpetuates dominant patriarchal ideology by regurgitation myths and stereotypes.
Research also highlighted the problem of viewing Yizo Yizo in an educational framework. The substantial drop in audience ratings for the final episode, which focused on a school that established or restored the ‘culture of learning and teaching’, indicates the series fell short of its educative potential. The series does not truly interrogate the socio-economic and political context of education in South Africa. Instead, the ‘crisis’ in education is paralleled with issues of delinquency rather than socio-economic inequalities of an educational system with a history tainted by the legacy of apartheid.
A further finding indicates that due to violent content, language and other issues, the SABC should have scheduled the programme after 9pm, during the watershed period.
Problem Solving Theatre: A case study
Problem solving theatre: A case study of the use of participatory forum theatre to explore HIVIAIDS issues in the workplace.
Submitted in partial fulfilment (50%) of the requirements for the degree Master of Arts in Culture, communication and Media Studies, Faculty of Human Sciences, University of Natal, Durban.
This thesis examines the use of the participatory forum theatre methodology for HIV/AIDS education in a factory setting in Durban, 2003. The paper explores the field of Entertainment Education (EE), which is the strategic use of entertainment forms for health education and behaviour change. This thesis offem an ove~ewof some of the modem theories of behaviour change and how EE is used in development communication. I investigate participatory communication theory, the work of Brazilian educationalist Paulo Freire, and the principles that inform Augusto Boal’s forum theatre methodology. EE strategies and communication and behavioural change theories inform the design and practice of the PST (problem solving theatre) project, which is the case study for this thesis.
This thesis outlines the process of the PST project, researching the environment at the chosen factory site, and the prevailing knowledge and attitudes towanls HIV/AIDS, the mation of an approprmte forum theatre play, as well as observations and commenfs on the performance at the factory. Final summative research investigates the impact that the forum theatre had on the audience. The conclusion points to the tensions in theory and practice that were highlighted through the PST project, and suggests how forum theatre, as an EE strategy, can be further used in a factory setting.
Narrative as communication in the campaign against HIV/AIDS in Namibia
Narrative as communication in the campaign against HIV/AIDS in Namibia:
a case study of Emma’s story documentary
by Joram Kumaaipurua Rukambe
Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Media and Cultural Studies, University of Natal, Durban.
01 July 1999
This study which formed the basis of this treatise was conducted during February 1999 by the researcher. The aim of the study was to examine narrative as communication in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Namibia. Particular reference was made to Emma’s Story, a 25-minute documentary produced by On Land Productions in 1997 on the life of a young woman, Emma Tuahepa Kamapoha, who was the first Namibian to publicly announce that she was HIV-positive.
Using an ethnographic research methodology within a cultural studies framework, the researcher used six focus groups and in-depth interviews to study the perceptions of Namibian youth on Emma’s Story and other socio-cultural myths which influence the perceptions of young Namibians on HIV/AIDS. Interviews were also conducted with representatives of organisations and individuals who were involved in the production of Emma’s Story. The study further made a semiotical analysis of Emma’s Story to determine how the producer ‘constructed’ this text to mean or to speak the same language as the audience so as to encourage symmetrical decoding by the audience.
Interpreting the results of this study within the framework of Stuart Hall’s (1980) encoding and decoding model and his later theories on representation and signifying practices (1996), the researcher concluded that on average all focus groups had a negotiated reading of Emma’s Story. Although focus groups understood the message of the text as encoded by the producer and even identified themselves with Emma, they had issues in the text which they interpreted in an aberrant manner. A good example will be Emma’s love relationship with Kaaronda which the majority of participants argued was morally incorrect. It was clear from the group discussions that participants generally understood the language of the text both in terms of the conceptual map and the signs and codes used in the text and they partially felt ‘interpellated’ by discourses in the text; but they argued that some specific issues needed to be changed so as to make the text an effective public awareness tool in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Namibia.
Freirean pedagogy as applied by DRAMAidE for HIV/AIDS education
Freirean pedagogy as applied by DRAMAidE for HIV/AIDS education
by Dominique Nduhura
Western representations of the African ‘Other’
Western representations of the African “other”: Investigations into the controversy around Geert van Kesteren’s photographs of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Zambia
A paper submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in the Graduate Programme in Cultural and Media Studies, University of Natal, Durban
The focus of this study is the controversy around the photographic representation of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Zambia (1999) by the Dutch photojournalist Geert van Kesteren. The controversy evolved around the 131h International Aids Conference in Durban (9-13 July 2000) between the photojournalist and AIDS activists, who argued that the photographs depicted their subjects – all black Zambians – in a victimising, stereotypical and racist manner. An investigation of the controversy on the issues generated forms the premise from which this research is conducted. This is intended to illuminate the nature and context of the more general socio-documentary encounter between the observing photographer (the Western Same’) and hislher subject (the sub-Saharan African ‘Other’) in terms of the politics of representation and the power involved.
The study is undertaken within a broad visual anthropological framework of representing the African ‘Other’ from a Western perspective. The theoretical focus is on differing debates on representational processes and possible claims involved, especially by highlighting and questioning discourses of ‘Othering’. Face-to-face, unstructured interviews were conducted with the key actors in the controversy and used to examine how subjectivity and institutional positionality in terms of socio-historical background, class, gender and race influence both the construction and interpretation of representation. Further, the study addresses some of the limits of the representation of power relations and illuminates that the regime of representation is a system of knowledge production, implying issues of power and inequality.
It has to be understood as a discursive site of power relationships, an arena for oppositional political discourses, of which adversary parties consider themselves responsible.
A reception analysis of Soul City beyond South Africa
A reception analysis of Soul City beyond South Africa: The case of Choose Life in Lesotho
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Ideology, hegemony and HIV/AIDS
The appropriation of indigenous and global spheres
| Author: Parker, Warren
Supervisor: Prof. Keyan Tomaselli
Theories of ideology offer ways of understanding how ideas come into being, and how they become dominant in society.
Organisations and groups are able foster recognition of their ideas through ideological practices such as repetition, but also by linking such ideas to the voices of elite individuals and other elite organisations. When ideas are repeated over time they enter into the realm of common-sense, whether they are appropriate interpretations of reality or not. Common-sense ideas can be used to direct public policy.
This thesis explores how AIDS organisations construct dominant ideas, and how these processes, which include valourising the organisations themselves, are used to direct AIDS policy and strategy in South Africa and internationally.
Thabo Mbeki, critical discourse analysis and the struggle to define HIV and AIDS in South Africa 1998 – 2003.
Social Marketing and Health Service Promotion
A needs analysis for the antiretroviral rollout at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
The Cultural Construction of Sexually Transmitted Disease.
Its consequence for intervention approaches.
Effective HIV/AIDS Communication Campaigns
A case study of an HIV/AIDS Awareness Campaign Targeted at Young Adults at a Tertiary Institution by Veena Rawjee.
President Thabo Mbeki and the struggle over HIV/AIDS in South Africa 1999 – 2002
| Author: Cullinan, Kerry
Type of Product: Masters Degree Research Proposal
| Outline of research topic
The Joint United Nations Agency on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) (2000) defines multi-sectoral leadership and political commitment as two of the most critical factors in any country’s fight against the HIV/AIDS. But in South Africa, presidential leadership in the field of HIV/AIDS appears to have resulted in the narrowing rather than widening of possibilities for addressing disease (Schneider: 2002).
Shortly before becoming president, Thabo Mbeki held the orthodox view that HIV causes AIDS. However, shortly after assuming the presidency in 1999, President Mbeki developed an intellectual interest in unorthodox views about HIV/AIDS, particularly questioning whether a single virus could account for a range of “AIDS-related illnesses” and whether anti-retroviral drugs were more harmful than helpful for people with HIV.
As the head of the executive, Mbeki (and his Cabinet) has the constitutional right to develop and implement government policy (Clause 85.1 b).Official government HIV/AIDS policy is based on the orthodox view that HIV causes AIDS. Thus, Mbeki’s interest in dissident views caused a tension between his responsibility to develop policy and his responsibility to implement existing policy. As a result of his interest in so-called AIDS “dissident” views, within a year of being inaugurated as president, Mbeki was being condemned in the international and local press (Washington Post , 6 July 2000; Newsweek March 2000, local press). According to Jacobs and Calland (2002: 3): “Despite the fact that HIV is spreading faster in South Africa than anywhere else in the world, the domestic debate on the epidemic has been dominated not by the fight to contain it, but the reasons for Mbeki’s apparent rejection of orthodox HIV theory.”
This dissertation will seek to examine what Mbeki has said about HIV/AIDS between 1999 and 2002 and the conflict over the meanings of HIV/AIDS such views have caused, as reflected in media reports and from interviews with key players. It will also deal briefly with some of the consequences that this struggle has had on South Africa’s campaign HIV/AIDS.