Critical Discourse Analysis On Hiv And Aids Policy

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Critical Discourse Analysis on HIV and AIDS Policy

Critical Discourse Analysis on HIV and AIDS Policy

Chapter IV

At the outset of the study the focus for analysis was on discourses concerning the causality of HIV/AIDS. Through the analysis process it became clear that a much wider range of discourses are present in the texts, many of which inform both direct and indirect representations of disease causality, as well as discursive responses to the epidemic. Given the volume of discourse in the texts, in documenting the analysis the researcher has chosen to concentrate on specific discursive patterns which draw out the subject role of government in responding to the epidemic, and which illuminate the socio-political dynamics within HIV/AIDS constructions.

Drawing on Potter and Wetherell's (1987) model of discourse analysis the texts were searched for themes related to the research question. The process was cyclical in that as the researcher's understanding of a particular theme developed, she returned to the text to research for instances that could be identified as relevant. The analysis focused on emerging patterns in the data, including both variance and consistency of discourse configurations (Potter and Wetherell, 1987). During this process themes merged, together in some instances, and separate in others. There was much overlapping of both complimentary and competing discourses across and within the texts. However, in order to better understand the nature and implications of the emerging discourses most relevant to the study's central questions, four themes have been used to structure the discussion of the findings. The function and consequence of each theme was explored in detail, drawing on both the broader literature and the theoretical paradigm of discourse analysis.

These themes were derived from the research interest underpinning the study and the nature of the subject under investigation, and are named as follows:

1. The struggle against HIV/AIDS: War, enemies and partnership

2. ''It's all part of the plan'': Consistency in government's response

3. HIV/AIDS the unknown: Complexity and questions

4. The treatment of treatment: Positioning ARVs

The analysis explores how texts in the sample relate back and forth to each other, and interprets the representations within texts with reference to the context in which they are produced. Contextual information provides a fuller account of the detailed organisation of discourse patterns (Potter and Wetherell, 1988; Parker 1992). Furthermore, recording the date of the texts was important in identifying discursive shifts over time and examining intertextuality. Selected extracts from texts, accompanied by detailed interpretations which link with analytic claims, are extensively drawn upon to illustrate the analysis3. Where appropriate, inferences are made between the discourse patterns embedded in the texts and the broader literature.

There is inconsistent use of terminology to name the epidemic through the use of multiple linguistic forms referring to the same phenomenon, such as “the Syndrome”, “HIV/AIDS”, “HIV and AIDS” and “immune deficiency”. This uncertainty in naming the epidemic strengthens constructions that question the links between HIV and AIDS and poverty. The frequent reference in the texts to “no cure for AIDS” lends further weight ...
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