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Knowledge distribution and power relations in HIV-related education and prevention for gay men: an application of Bernstein to Australian community-based pedagogical devices

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This paper seeks to make a theoretical and analytic intervention into the field of HIV-related education and prevention by applying the pedagogy framework of Basil Bernstein to a series of pedagogical devices developed and used in community-based programmes targeting gay men in Australia. The paper begins by outlining why it is such an intervention might be necessary at this stage in the Australian response to the epidemic, suggesting that extant pedagogies and the devices that enact them rework a set of power/knowledge dynamics that need to be rethought to afford a reinvigoration of the community sector's work in this area. The framework for the description of pedagogy as knowledge production and distribution, and as a set of power relations enacted through these processes, is then introduced through application to a key set of pedagogic devices that have been used extensively in the Australian community sector's work in HIV-related education and prevention. The paper concludes by outlining what has been revealed through this analysis: that forms of knowledge production and distribution enacted by these pedagogic devices problematically reinstantiate power relations that address gay men, the key targets of such pedagogy, in ways that may be ineffective for the transmission of knowledge that can impact on HIV transmission.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: David McInnes, School of Humanities and Languages, University of Western Sydney, Penrith South DC, Australia 2: National Centre in HIV Social Research, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Publication date: February 1, 2011

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