oa Journal of Education - Shifting ground: making sense of context in examining HIV/AIDS and schooling

Volume 38, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0259-479X



Research in HIV/AIDS and education has been dominated by large-scale quantitative studies which have neglected the socially embedded nature of the disease. he authors are involved in a study that is investigating how HIV/AIDS affects schooling in Richmond, and how it intersects with other barriers to schooling in a context where the prevalence of HIV infection is high. Initial analysis in this study has indicated that an understanding of the context, particularly Richmond�s violent past, is central to an understanding of HIV/AIDS and schooling. This article reports on a qualitative micro-study that emerges from the larger Richmond study. It attempts to provide a contextual understanding of Richmond as a geographic and socio-historic space, as a community and as a discursive space. We discuss Richmond as geographic and community spaces by examining its recent history with a view to understanding factors underlying HIV infection and affection. This discussion focuses on problems of fractured families, alcohol abuse, commercial sex work and drugs which all seem to be connected to a history of violence. We then examine Richmond as a discursive space in terms of discourses of violence, peace and barriers to schooling. In the final section of the article we theorise context using the metaphor of �ground� and apply this theorisation to the case of Richmond.

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