Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Awakening

The first article from the package I read this week was Mallory's article on women at risk for HIV because of survival sex. I was excited to read about this topic as it somewhat feeds into my research area. Maybe my expectations were too high, but I was very disappointed when I was done reading. Mallory's research topic was great and I think the questions asked made a lot of sense, but I was hoping she would present more of the responses from the women they interview instead of trying to press her findings in a more than questionable theory. Also, did anybody else get upset with her figures?

Luckily the next article I read was the one by Martyn on 'tough girls' rewriting negative scripts, now that is what I call qualitative research and I was thinking to myself: that's how it needs to be done! I liked the article's thick descriptions and how it presented the topic from various viewpoints. It allowed the reader to be part of their experiences although I doubt any of us has come close to such an experience, it nonetheless allowed us to be part of it.

Granzow's piece was very interesting. I thought to myself: we have talked about dominant structures all year long and not once did it come to my mind that in a simple company structure it comes to the exact same situations of voices not being heard, forced structures that support the dominant and ignore the dominated, and frustration and helplessness on side of the dominated. I was somewhat hoping that the workers would at some point plan a revolt, but instead they just kept following the rules they were told to follow. Are they afraid to lose their jobs? Can they be easily replaced and therefore the did not want to risk the one thing that brought them money? At the same time they did take time to raise their concerns, the one worker who wrote a long letter with all the workers complaints...why was he not worried about losing is job? Wouldn't that be a typical reaction of the dominant structure, silence those who get too loud?

Basu and Dutta's piece on sex workers in India is an excellent example how community-based participatory research approaches, here in form of the culture-centered approach, yields breathtaking results. To read about formerly struggling sex workers now being able to manage to live without the threats of being suppressed by others and by HIV makes me feel positive about the future. I wonder once again, if health professionals read about the results of condom and awareness campaigns compared to what the SHIP program has achieved in recent years, how much more do you need to read to understand that traditional approaches are wrong within marginalized and undeserved populations? The SHIP project also showed though, that this is only the beginning of creating equal living conditions. Even though the sex workers now have a stronger network and therefore more self-confidence so they don't have to solely rely on their sex worker business to bring home money for food, the article also highlights that the group is still highly stigmatized and disadvantaged compared to others. With the dominant power structures not wanting to change or give up their dominance, I wonder if structures like this can ever be changed and turned around 180 degrees for the better of all involved?

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