Practical Sexual Responsibility and Self-Control: A Foucaultian Analysis of Contemporary HIV/AIDS Prevention Programs
Drawing on the theoretical perspectives of Michel Foucault and Cindy Patton, this thesis takes a detailed and analytical look at HIV/AIDS prevention programs and literature published by U.S. public health organizations within the last decade. Of central interest is the distribution of sexual responsibility discourses advocating, implicitly or explicitly, individual self-control in the form of "safe(r) sex," with the interest to protect and sustain the "public health."
The programs examined in this thesis advocate sexual responsibility and organize individuals into taxonomies defined by their risk. Individuals are classified as either "not risky" or "risky" and "responsible" or "irresponsible" through a complex relational system whereby their presumed behaviors are connected to specific identities; and specific identities are presumed to be indicative of presumed behaviors. This system, moreover, is stricly divided along exuality, racial/ethnic, and class lines. Thus, heterosexual, white, and middle- to upper-class persons are considered to be "not at risk" whereas any configuration of teh social markers of bi-/homosexual, African-American and Hispanic, and lower-class is considered to be "at risk."
I term the specific type of responsibility proposed in these programs practical sexual responsibility. A direct consequence of the HIV/AIDS prevention programs is the classification of individuals into two distinct identity categories that correlate with their assumed level of risk. Practical sexual responsibility is a limited version of responsibility demanded of those assumed to be "risky."
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Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Arts and Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Palumbo, N. Anthony, "Practical Sexual Responsibility and Self-Control: A Foucaultian Analysis of Contemporary HIV/AIDS Prevention Programs" (2005). HIM 1990-2015. 1895.