The Co-construction of Citizens and Sexual Behaviours : A Case Study of HIV/AIDS Prevention Campaigns in Singapore

Imadzu, Liza; (2007) The Co-construction of Citizens and Sexual Behaviours : A Case Study of HIV/AIDS Prevention Campaigns in Singapore. PhD thesis, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. DOI:

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Despite the long-running HIV/AIDS campaigns by the Singapore Mini~tr y of Health, every year, more Singaporeans are infected with HN, and each year, the greatest number of infections occurs among the middle-aged, heterosexual men - the very primary target of the Ministry's campaign efforts. In this research, I will therefore carry out a critical re-examination of the Singapore Ministry of Health's HIV/AIDS campaigns targeted at the so-called 'general' population. Quantitative evaluations have been conducted in the past, producing quantifiable, 'scientific' measurements regarding the 'quality' and 'effectiveness' of these campaigns. It has also been the results of these evaluations that have been used to justify the Ministry's policies. However, in this research, I wish to argue that HN/AIDS campaigns are not neutral and value-free 'facts' but that these should be seen as 'scientific activities', which are socially and materialistically constructed, and which are consciously undertaken by specific actors. I argue that by 'evaluating' the methodologies and techniques used in these campaigns using conventional public health tools such as' KAP (Knowledge-Attitude and Practice) surveys, one remains trapped inside the particular social and material construction. I believe that a more productive approach is needed to examine the way that health education campaigns are socially and materially produced, and that this can be achieved by taking a more holistic and a critical approach that can capture the dynamics and processes involved in their construction. Using the theoretical approaches suggested by Sociology of Scientific Knowledge (SSK) and Science and Technology Studies (STS), I will argue that these HIV/AIDS campaigns are intended to produce a network of a certain set of knowledge about HIV/AIDS in Singapore, and further t hat this network is in fact a product of an on-going heterogeneous engineering undertaken by a particular actor, namely the Singapore Ministry of Health. I wiII also discuss some of the possible reasons why the particular set of knowledge is being produced in Singapore, and whether or not the knowledge can remain durable, intact from the effects of globalisation in which the movem9't of all sorts of social and non -social entities (e.g. information, technology, discourses and materials) are becoming increas ingly boundless. I however neither intend my research to give a definitive solution nor pose as a grand meta-theory. Rather, what I seek to do is to produce a local and a contingent study of a specific network, and hope, theoretically, to contribute to a critical assessment of the current thinking about health education/promotion, and practically, contnbute to halting the mY/AIDS epidemic in Singapore.

Item Type: Thesis
Thesis Type: Doctoral
Thesis Name: PhD
Contributors: Carter, S (Thesis advisor);
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