Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Best Laid PlansCultural Entropy and the Unraveling of Aids Media Campaigns$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

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

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 23 July 2021

Displacement and Decay: Materiality, Space, and Interpretation

Displacement and Decay: Materiality, Space, and Interpretation

(p.120) 5 Displacement and Decay: Materiality, Space, and Interpretation
Best Laid Plans

Terence E. McDonnell

University of Chicago Press

AIDS media lead unexpected lives once diffused through urban space: billboards fade, posters go missing, bumper stickers travel to other cities. In this chapter I argue that the material qualities of AIDS campaign objects and the urban settings in which they are displayed structures how the public interprets their messages. Interview data and ethnographic observation of AIDS media in situ reveal how the materiality and circulation of objects and their sites of reception shape the availability of AIDS knowledge in Accra, Ghana. I find that the decay and displacement of these advertisements enable new meanings (e.g. when red ribbons fade to pink) and give audiences the opportunity to use these posters creatively (e.g. as interior decoration). Material qualities disrupt campaigns by undermining their perceptibility and legibility. Significantly for AIDS organizations, these material conditions often systematically obstruct access to AIDS knowledge for particular groups. In this sense, cultural entropy is as much a material condition as a symbolic one.

Keywords:   materiality, cultural objects, perceptibility, legibility, reception theory, meaning, diffusion, circulation, sociology of knowledge, cultural entropy

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.