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Ancestors and AntiretroviralsThe Bio-Politics of HIV/AIDS in Post-Apartheid South Africa$
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Claire Laurier Decoteau

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226064451

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226064628.001.0001

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Hybridity

Hybridity

Chapter:
(p.199) Five Hybridity
Source:
Ancestors and Antiretrovirals
Author(s):

Claire Laurier Decoteau

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226064628.003.0006

This chapter analyzes the relationship between indigenous and biomedical healing in South Africa. Although contemporary bio-political struggles over HIV/AIDS posit a ‘myth of incommensurability’ – an ideology that indigenous (read ‘traditional’) and biomedical (read ‘modern’) forms of healing are irreconcilably incompatible – people living with HIV/AIDS have embodied culturally hybrid identities by amalgamating different African cultures with cultural ideologies derived from international, national and local influences. This cultural hybridity is made possible by the historical conjuncture of events which marked the transition from apartheid to post-apartheid, and it allows the subjects of post-apartheid to circumnavigate the material strictures erected by both neoliberal economic restructuring and the pandemic itself. This chapter engages in a postcolonial re-reading of Pierre Bourdieu’s theories of field and habitus.

Keywords:   indigenous healing, biomedicine, fields, habitus, hybridity, postcolonial, neoliberalism, HIV, myth of incommensurability, modernity

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