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LOLS@stigma: Comedy as activism in the changing times of the HIV epidemic

Mulubale, Sanny and Rohleder, Poul and Squire, Corinne (2021) 'LOLS@stigma: Comedy as activism in the changing times of the HIV epidemic.' Critical Public Health, 31 (3). pp. 255-267. ISSN 0958-1596

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This paper examines how, in the midst of changing political times, some characteristics of HIV activism are changing, and suggests the relevance of these shifts for other fields of health activism. Despite the UK achieving UNAIDS’s ‘90-90-90’ testing and treatment goals, many in the UK lack up-to-date HIV knowledge and retain stigmatising attitudes, and some areas of testing failure remain. In response, people with HIV and HIV organisations are generating imaginative, collaborative projects that indicate effective contemporary forms of health activism may, as other critical health research suggests, be decentred, participatory, multimodal, affective, and implicit. The paper describes a 2016 HIV NGO-run comedy event directed at HIV awareness which was researched via qualitative pre- and post-measures, and two-month follow-up interviews. Findings pointed to strong effects of comedy, as enjoyment and ‘break’ in HIV thinking, feeling and action; of a one-off event’s emotionality and particularity; and of performance in generating collectivity and HIV citizenship. The paper discusses the potential transferability of these findings to other health activisms, particularly around stigmatised conditions. It argues that such strategies of emotionality, multi-modality and solidarity in a performance event can work as implicit activism for changing times, generating social change via a doubled politics of resistance and alterity.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: HIV, comedy, stigma, London, BAME
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2020 15:32
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 14:19

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