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Lecture 20

ANTHROP 3HI3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 20: Structural Violence, Biopolitics, Victim Blaming

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ANTHROP 3HI3 Lecture 20
March 28, 2016
Priscilla Medeiros, 1
Biopolitics and the State: Part 3
Blame is prominent in terms of social responses of the victims
Blame is considered the third epidemicmore troublesome to address than the
epidemics of AIDS/HIV
Reinforce our assumptions of people living with HIV as being responsible for their illness
based on their behaviours
Blaming the Victim:
Phrase coined by William Ryan in 1971 in a publication made while minority groups were
being blamed for the harm that was coming to everyone
o Set the background to Paul Farmers book
Applied interchangeably poor, most illiterate, most backwards, and most superstitial
A way to avoid consequences of wrongdoings and to shift blame to others
o Shift blame to victims particularly people in the four H’s in the case of HIV/AIDS
The main motivation is to justify abuse or social injustice
o Miserable health care of the poor as being explained away as the victims
o Government places blame on individuals for the negative experiences
Perpetuated by sexism, the Just World Theory, cognitive biases, and self-blame
o Centre on the idea that victims are at fault for negative outcomes
o Just World Theory:
§ Blaming of victims stems from the strong belief that the world we live in is
fair and just
§ Idea that bad things only happen to people who did something wrong or
that they deserve it
§ People who suffer from debilitating diseases must have done something
bad to deserve that
o Cognitive Biases:
§ Peoples behaviours are influenced by their behaviours
§ Makes false assumptions of others behaviours solely based on the
Leads to secondary victimization
o Society reinforces pre-existing ideas, fears, and inequalities to victims through
the form of communicability
Influences society and legislation
Still ramped today only recently identified as problematic
Victim Blaming and HIV.AIDS
Acts as a barrier to HIV treatment, diagnosis, and prevention
o Profound effect on the lives of people living with the disease
o Discourages people from testing, disclosing their status, remaining in care, and
adhering to treatment
People experience low self-esteem, and have feelings of guilt and shame
Leads to stigma
o Criminalization, etc.
Finger-pointing stigma
Recognizing that everyone is at equal risk of getting the disease removes some of the
stigma associated with the disease
o Monogamous heterosexuals are the largest contributors to the epidemic
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