Few diseases have provoked as many wild moralistic leaps or stringent attempts to measure, classify, and define risk and treatment standards as AIDS. In Politics in the Corridor of Dying, Jennifer Chan documents the emergence of a diverse range of community-based, nongovernmental, and civil society groups engaged in patient-focused AIDS advocacy worldwide. She also critically evaluates the evolving role of these groups in challenging authoritative global health governance schemes put in place by what she describes as overcontrolling or sanctimonious governments, scientists, religious figures, journalists, educators, and corporations.
Drawing on more than 100 interviews conducted across eighteen countries, the book covers a broad spectrum of contemporary sociopolitical issues in AIDS activism, including the criminalization of HIV transmission, the fight against “big pharma,” and the politics of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Chan argues that AIDS activism disrupts four contemporary regimes of power—scientific monopoly, market fundamentalism, governance statism, and community control—by elevating alternative knowledge production and human rights.
This multidisciplinary book is aimed at students and scholars of public health, sociology, and political science, as well as health practitioners and activists. Politics in the Corridor of Dying makes specific policy recommendations for the future while revealing how AIDS activism around the world has achieved much more than increased funding, better treatment, and more open clinical trial access: by forcing controlling entities to democratize, activists have changed the balance of power for the better and helped advance permanent social change.