Terence E. McDonnell, Cultural Objects as Objects: Materiality, Urban Space, and the Interpretation of AIDS Campaigns in Accra, Ghana
AIDS media lead unexpected lives once distributed through urban space: billboards fade, posters go missing, bumper stickers travel to other cities. The materiality of AIDS campaign objects and of the urban settings in which they are displayed structures how the public interprets their messages. Ethnographic observation of AIDS media in situ and interview data reveal how the materiality of objects and places shapes the availability of AIDS knowledge in Accra, Ghana. Significantly for AIDS organizations, these material conditions often systematically obstruct access to AIDS knowledge for particular groups. Attending to materiality rethinks how scholars assess the cultural power of media.
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