Workable Sisterhood: The Political Journey of Stigmatized Women with HIV/AIDS

Workable Sisterhood: The Political Journey of Stigmatized Women with HIV/AIDS

by Michele Tracy Berger
ISBN-10:
0691127700
ISBN-13:
9780691127705
Pub. Date:
07/03/2006
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
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Overview

Workable Sisterhood: The Political Journey of Stigmatized Women with HIV/AIDS

Workable Sisterhood is an empirical look at sixteen HIV-positive women who have a history of drug use, conflict with the law, or a history of working in the sex trade. What makes their experience with the HIV/AIDS virus and their political participation different from their counterparts of people with HIV? Michele Tracy Berger argues that it is the influence of a phenomenon she labels "intersectional stigma," a complex process by which women of color, already experiencing race, class, and gender oppression, are also labeled, judged, and given inferior treatment because of their status as drug users, sex workers, and HIV-positive women.

The work explores the barriers of stigma in relation to political participation, and demonstrates how stigma can be effectively challenged and redirected.

The majority of the women in Berger's book are women of color, in particular African Americans and Latinas. The study elaborates the process by which these women have become conscious of their social position as HIV-positive and politically active as activists, advocates, or helpers. She builds a picture of community-based political participation that challenges popular, medical, and scholarly representations of "crack addicted prostitutes" and HIV-positive women as social problems or victims, rather than as agents of social change. Berger argues that the women's development of a political identity is directly related to a process called "life reconstruction." This process includes substance- abuse treatment, the recognition of gender as a salient factor in their lives, and the use of nontraditional political resources.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691127705
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 07/03/2006
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.70(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Chapter One: The Politics of Intersectional Stigma for Women with HIV/AIDS 1

An Overview of the Story 2

The New "Face" of HIV//AIDS 6

Women's Community Work: Broadening the Definition of What Constitutes Politics 7

Intersectionality 18

Stigma and Marginality 22

Intersectional Stigma 24

Coming Out of the Shadows: Stigmatized Women and Politics 36

Chapter Two: Women's Narrative Bio-Sketches 37

Advocates 38

Activists 50

Helpers 58

Life Lessons 65

Chapter Three: Capturing the Research Journey/Listening to Women's Lives 68

Section One: Finding the Women 68

Section Two: Why Did She Say That?

Creating and Analyzing Oral Narratives 79

Limitations of the Study 85

Chapter Four: Narratives of Injustice: Discovery of the HIV/AIDS Virus 87

Narratives of Injustice 88

Consequences of the Discovery of the HIV/AIDS Virus 99

Intersectional Stigma as a Contributing Factor 102

Chapter Five Life Reconstruction and the Development of Nontraditional Political Resources 105

What Is Life Reconstruction? 105

The Role of Resources 106

External Resources 107

Chapter Six: Life Reconstruction and Gender 119

Aspects of Respondents' Gender Identity before HIV//AIDS and Life Reconstruction 119

Redirecting HIV-Stigma Related to Sex Work 121

Sexual Self-(Re)Education and Empowerment 129

Development of a Public Voice: What It Means to Be a Woman with HIV 133

Consequences of Not Developing a Public Voice 139

Chapter Seven: Making Workable Sisterhood Possible: The Multiple Expressions of Political Participation 143

The Women's Distrust of Conventional Politics 143

Blended and Overlapping Roles 150

Narrative Features of Participation 180

Chapter Eight: Looking to the Future: Struggle and Commitment for Stigmatized Women with HIV/AIDS 186

Collective Stories 186

Policy, Prevention, and Treatment Implications 190

Appendix 193

Notes 195

Bibliography 209

Index 225

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