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The new wives of Christ: Paradoxes and potentials in the remaking of widow lives in Uganda

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores a new opening for some Ugandan widows to remake their lives for the better. Most changes associated with AIDS have disempowered widows, in particular the care provided within the family sphere. Limited care for widows is often a sign of utter poverty, however, it is not uncommon for in-laws to accuse a widow of bringing the disease into the family and then chasing her and her children off the land of the deceased husband. The new opening is to some extent related to the economic scarcity and alterations in patterns of familial caring, and, moreover, to HIV prevention discourses and the gospel of Salvation. The chapter focuses on connections between the discourse of sexual abstinence and trust in the power of faith, and the ways in which some widows negotiate new social positioning for themselves, in particular the economic and moral authority of widows to stay single.

Keywords: AIDS; Christian discourses; HIV prevention; salvation; Samia widow inheritance; sexual abstinence; Uganda



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