A textual analysis of abstinence, be faithful, condom-use materials for HIV prevention at University Campuses in KwaZulu-Natal, 2006-2009.
Segopolo, Irene Mmalecha Minkie.
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Prevention campaigns in print – advocating safer sex behaviour through Abstinence, Be faithful and Condom-use advocacy (ABC) based on various theories and models of behaviour change – inadvertently facilitate constructions of representations of HIV and AIDS and position the target readers through discursive strategies. The research contributes to the growing literature that explores how issues of HIV and AIDS prevention that relate to the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), Durban University of Technology (DUT) and University of Zululand (UniZulu) students can be best addressed in order to achieve the desired goals that sexual behaviour campaigns set for themselves. An eclectic framework is applied that combines conceptual frameworks within the poststructuralist paradigm, together with ethnomethodology through focus group discussions and key informant interviews that aim to inform the methodological framework. Poststructural approaches privilege different concepts, for example, ideology and discourse, from which representations of phenomena ensue. Poststructuralist understandings inform Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) augmented by Social Semiotics is employed to investigate and theorise the role discourse plays in the construction and reproduction of HIV and AIDS print prevention messages meant to persuade individuals to engage in safer sex practices. The interrogation of texts requires a framing that looks at representations, how they are made in context and how people engage with them. Hence CDA, together with Social Semiotics, is used to examine underlying themes, constructs and assumptions of messages and meanings embedded in linguistic and visual codes used in the texts. Focus group discussions examine how meanings are negotiated and interpreted by the university students. The eclectic framework has not only enabled a rigorous and schematic analytical tool, but also an ethnographic approach that stimulated dialogue on HIV and AIDS print prevention texts between the researcher and the university students and between university students themselves. The poststructuralist approach offered exploration of representation, language and interpretation by linking notions of text to context and by so doing demonstrates how discourses of power can help understanding of how identities are constructed through positioning of (subjects) students with regard to how they negotiate meanings from texts. The campaigns seem to reflect a lack of awareness of unequal relations of peer pressure, power and knowledge between sex partners. Strategies used in the texts range from apocalyptic, risk ideology woven through covert attacks on deviant sexual behaviours; infused in the language and visual features arises the notion that the body is under scrutiny, relating this to Foucauldian self-surveillance and self-care, responsibility and empowerment urging informed sexual choices. Invariably, this translates to urging ability to control the body’s eroticism, sexual desires and sexuality. Counter discourses, challenging hegemonic masculinity; discourses of power, discourses of change, also prevail in the printbased HIV prevention campaigns. Noting that there can never be a single totalizing meaning and that texts would be subject to multiple meaning/s, there is still a need to design print-based HIV and AIDS prevention campaigns that persuade students to practise safer sex. The thesis concludes by recommending from the findings that there is a need to explore issues of etechnology/ computer-mediated communication through use of interactivity to continue to encourage safer sex practices. Further issues of promoting self-love ([masturbation] that was suggested by students) would be worth exploring. Finally, a fresher approach to the promotion of condoms that specifically targets university students, that is, re-sexualizing the condom rather desexualizing it, would further enhance the motivation for condom-use.
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