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Best Laid PlansCultural Entropy and the Unraveling of Aids Media Campaigns$
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Terence E. McDonnell

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226382012

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226382296.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 05 April 2020

The Cultural Topography of Accra

The Cultural Topography of Accra

Chapter:
(p.47) 2 The Cultural Topography of Accra
Source:
Best Laid Plans
Author(s):

Terence E. McDonnell

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226382296.003.0003

Chapter two maps the cultural topography of Accra by accounting for the complex field of objects, meanings, and practice that establish an ambiguous environment through which Ghanaians make meanings and choices about AIDS. In particular, I highlight the competing sources of authority that enable contradictory interpretations of AIDS and the ways the streetscape provides a scaffolding for these ambiguities. AIDS campaigns negotiate local structures and sources of meaning and power, from rumor and myth, spirited church pastors, herbalists and faith healers, to medical science, government interests, and the news media. Not only are these understandings of AIDS supported by various cultural authorities, the streetscape supports these systems of knowledge through the visual culture of billboards and advertising by herbalists and traditional healers. This chapter makes clear the difficulties health organizations have navigating these varied sources of meaning and authority. This rocky terrain creates a foundation for cultural entropy that undermines efforts to order meanings of AIDS by media campaigns.

Keywords:   sociology of knowledge, cultural topography, authority, visual culture, stigma, traditional medicine, news media, faith healing, herbalists, AIDS

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