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Global AIDS Governance, Biofascism, and the Difficult Freedom of Expression

Keywords: activism , BILL CLINTON , biofascism , biopolitics , global AIDS , HIV/AIDS , parrhesia

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Abstract:

This paper explores the expulsion of an activist from the 2010 International AIDS conference and juxtaposes it with Bill Clinton's plenary talk from the same conference. These two events dramatize the complex and competing discourses circulating within the global AIDS movement. In particular, they illustrate the ways in which governments, NGOs, Big Pharma, medical researchers, and funders constitute a global bureaucratic matrix that promotes new 'truths' about the epidemic. Namely, that the battle will be fought and won through programmatic (economic, biomedical, technological, and pharmacological) interventions. These new 'truths' and affiliated practices render dissent and advocacy a threat to this programmatic rationality, and serve to silence the global AIDS movement's earlier calls for critical resistance and action. Drawing on Foucauldian "biopower" the paper offers a re-articulation of international HIV programs and institutions, and reads the techniques of HIV and AIDS governance, polemically, as a form of "biofascism."

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