Hansjörg Dilger: Leben mit Aids. Krankheit, Tod und soziale Beziehungen in Afrika. Eine Ethnographie

PhD-thesis, Freie Universität Berlin, Social Anthropology, co-supervised by Prof Brigit Obrist, Institute of Social Anthropology, University of Basel (2005)

The book is based on research conducted in both rural and urban Tanzania, thus evidencing the interconnectedness of these contexts, and of AIDS, through migration processes. It depicts how people with HIV/AIDS integrate the experience of illness and death in everyday life, how they cope, or do not cope, with the upcoming problems related to AIDS. Which strategies do they develop and which are their perceptions about them? Problems due to HIV/AIDS are multifaceted and multi-layered: they have repercussions on individual, family and community level. Which social, economic and emotional problems influence the cohabitation of families and communities with people living with HIV/AIDS? The study shows that people living with HIV/AIDS actively engage to cope with their condition. Moreover, individual action is embedded in the wider social, cultural and politico-economical context. In order to analyze these processes the author introduces the concept of moral practice. The handling of AIDS at individual and community level becomes a moral practice, since it is guided by norms and expectations influenced by cultural and religious values. Moral practice characterizes the interaction between people with HIV/AIDS and their social environment. On the one hand, moral practice is responsible for the phenomena of stigmatization and fear of infection, while on the other hand it enables people to live with AIDS.