SOC309Y1 Chapter Notes -Serostatus, Magic Johnson, Greg Louganis

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13 Apr 2012
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7) Archetypes of Infection: People with HIV/AIDS in the Australian Press in the Mid 1990’s
7) Archetypes of Infection: People with HIV/AIDS in the Australian Press in the Mid 1990’s
Deborah Lupton
INTRODUCTION
- Three major archetypes: AIDs Victim, AIDs Survivor, AIDs carrier
- Categorization often serves discursively to support and reproduce discrimination against
marginalized or disempowered groups
- Gay men with HIV/AIDS as guilty, deserving of their condition, punished for their deviant sexual
activities by their illness and death from AIDS
- STRONG EMPHASIS on lifestyle choices and health, and those with HIV/AIDS are usually paying
the price for having neglected ones duty of care to oneself
- AIDS carrier: conforms to elements of ‘epidemic psychology’, or the feelings of suspicion, fear,
panic and the need to take strong action against scapegoats, this often emerges at times in
which an epidemic is seen to threaten a society
- The news media were the first sources of knowledge for many people about the new condition
of HIV/AIDS
THE STUDY
- Objective of this study: to identify patterns in the ways in which people with HIV/AIDS were
portrayed in a more recent period of news reporting
- This approach sees the news media as the sites of discourses, or recurring patterns of
representation and meaning. These discourses constantly shift and change
THE AIDS VICTIM
- Worlds AIDS Day (December 1)
- Used the exemplar of the AIDS victim to support arguments in favour of legalised euthanasia
- The man was quoted as saying that he strongly supported legalised euthanasia as a means of
escaping the miseries and degradations of his illness
- Many victims are distressed at the discrimination they had suffered, others feel anguish and
fear while waiting for HIV antibody test results
- Ex// Greg Louganis (Olympic Swimmer), sustained an injury when he struck his head on the
diving board competing at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games (discussed in lecture)
- Ex// Tommy Morrison (heavyweight boxer), emphasized his distress at learning that he was HIV
positive, the hard lesson; he had learnt and his desire to warn others of the dangers of
believing that one is invulnerable to HIV infection
- Overall: all people falling within the victim archetype were dealt with sympathetically by the
press, their suffering emphasized over their culpability for their infection.
THE AIDS SURVIVOR
- Defined as: people who have been diagnosed with HIV but remained healthy for years, without
apparent immune dysfunction (appeared between 1994-1996)
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