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Telling Families, Telling AIDS : Narratives of Crisis in Botswana

Title data

Reece, Koreen:
Telling Families, Telling AIDS : Narratives of Crisis in Botswana.
In: Ethnos : Journal of Anthropology. (12 August 2021) .
ISSN 1469-588X

Abstract in another language

This article examines how families tell crisis, how non-governmental organisations tell it, and what a comparison offers for ethnographers of crisis. In Botswana’s time of AIDS, families tell the stories of those they’ve lost in collaborative, fragmented, and mediated ways. Where words have risky intersubjective effects – especially among kin – family stories both produce and contain their danger, thereby generating selves and relationships. Tales told by orphan care NGOs draw on different language ideologies, to different ends: they focus on the crisis of AIDS, its causes and effects, to generate solutions and legitimacy – potentially disrupting family tellings. I argue that ethnographies of crisis deploy a similar, EuroAmerican, narrative logic: they focus on crisis in order to generate change. But this approach may obscure the lived experience of crisis, and foreclose creative response. I propose specific ways that anthropologists might experiment with ‘non-crisis narrations’ [Roitman, Janet. 2013. Anti-Crisis. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.] instead, taking family tales as inspiration.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Kinship; stories; crisis; HIV; AIDS; Botswana
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Cultural Studies > Chair Social Anthropology
Profile Fields > Advanced Fields > African Studies
Faculties > Faculty of Cultural Studies
Profile Fields
Profile Fields > Advanced Fields
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 300 Social sciences
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2022 09:38
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2022 09:38