The Development of a Counter-Epistemic Community: AIDS, South Africa, and International Regimes

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Abstract

The South African government’s open challenging of the international AIDS control regime presents a paradox for the study of international regimes and epistemic communities: why would a state that would presumably benefit the most from a regime not only refuse to adhere to its precepts, but openly challenge its basic tenets? I argue that a fundamental disjuncture exists between the international AIDS control regime and the South African government, and that this disjuncture is rooted in the country’s negative past experiences with public health interventions and the attempts to forge a new, African Renaissance-inspired self-identity. This disjuncture finds its expression through the development of a counter-epistemic community which offers scientific expertise and policy recommendations to the South African government. The counter-epistemic community translates history and identity into policy outcomes that challenge the established discourse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)421-439
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Relations
Volume19
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2005
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • AIDS
  • South Africa
  • epistemic communities

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