, Volume 77, Issue 4, pp 459–473 | Cite as

Imaginative geographies of gender and HIV/AIDS: moving beyond neoliberalism

  • Rachel Bezner KerrEmail author
  • Paul Mkandawire


This paper examines how neoliberal development discourse contributes to the production and maintenance of problematic gendered hierarchies and spaces. By interrogating the basic assumptions undergirding this discourse, this paper explores how neoliberalism produces spaces which normalise certain identities—especially those associated with individualism and economic rationality, and makes errant values such as communalism and altruism. Drawing on perspectives from feminist geographies, we argue that by normalising and privileging certain masculine identities, neoliberalism reinscribes and legitimizes gendered power relations that are counterproductive to addressing HIV/AIDS. The ‘ideal’ person fighting HIV/AIDS in the neoliberal framework is rational, competitive and self-interested, but these characteristics are complicit in worsening HIV prevalence and mobilize problematic gender roles and identities. Given the pervasiveness of this ideology in Malawi, we propose ways in which families, communities and institutions can challenge and reshape gender identities and potential solutions to HIV within this context.


HIV and AIDS Gender Neoliberalism Feminist geography Malawi 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of Western OntarioLondonCanada

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