The role of language and gender in the naming and framing of HIV/AIDS in the South African context.
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Language is at the core of the network of resources that we draw on in describing the world and relating to others, and as such HIV/AIDS cannot be separated from the ways in which we think about it, talk about it, and act on it. This article attempts to provide a contextualised interrogation of the meanings that have been made of HIV/AIDS. It draws on a critical feminist research project that discursively analyses black women's life narratives and is informed by the theoretical resources at the interface of feminist, poststructuralist and postcolonial knowledges. In attending to the texts and contexts within which HIV/AIDS is produced, this article analyses general everyday talk as well as participants' narrative accounts within the research context. It explores the ways in which they work as (gendered) articulations of discursive networks that to different extents reveal or conceal the historical legacies and ideological underpinnings of a social phenomenon such as HIV/AIDS. The various coded references to HIV/AIDS are considered with regard to their political, cultural and gendered power upon women's everyday lived experience. This contextualised analysis opens up valuable possibilities for a cultural re-evaluation of HIV/AIDS that goes beyond narrow explanations of illness and stigma and flags the significance of local discourses of HIV/AIDS in the South African context.