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Open Access A Congolese Virus and Belgian Doctors? Postcolonial Perspectives on Migration and HIV 1

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A Congolese Virus and Belgian Doctors? Postcolonial Perspectives on Migration and HIV 1

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Abstract Based on collaborative research between a Congolese activist in HIV prevention in Belgium and a French anthropologist, this paper hopes to initiate a debate about the issue of HIV /AIDS in light of the postcolonial links between Belgium and its former colony Congo/Zaire. By exploring the social representations that HIV has generated in Francophone Belgium and the changing political management of the epidemic since the 1980s, the paper focuses on how Congolese HIV-­positive migrants have been viewed, treated and allowed (or not) to settle in Belgium. It analyzes how the HIV/AIDS epidemic was seen as an ‘African disease,’ and more precisely a ‘Congolese virus.’ It concludes that Achille Mbembe’s ‘postcolonial scoriae’ must be taken into account (without necessarily implying a linear passage from colonial to postcolonial relations) in order to understand European and international policies in Africa or policies concerning African migrants.

Abstract Based on collaborative research between a Congolese activist in HIV prevention in Belgium and a French anthropologist, this paper hopes to initiate a debate about the issue of HIV /AIDS in light of the postcolonial links between Belgium and its former colony Congo/Zaire. By exploring the social representations that HIV has generated in Francophone Belgium and the changing political management of the epidemic since the 1980s, the paper focuses on how Congolese HIV-­positive migrants have been viewed, treated and allowed (or not) to settle in Belgium. It analyzes how the HIV/AIDS epidemic was seen as an ‘African disease,’ and more precisely a ‘Congolese virus.’ It concludes that Achille Mbembe’s ‘postcolonial scoriae’ must be taken into account (without necessarily implying a linear passage from colonial to postcolonial relations) in order to understand European and international policies in Africa or policies concerning African migrants.

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2013-01-01
2016-12-04

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