Precarious Projects: Conversions of Biomedical Knowledge in an East African City
Ruth Prince (University of Cambridge)
Discussant: Jesse Olszynko-Gryn (University of Cambridge)
This paper explores the orientations of lay people in Kenya to science - specifically to biomedical knowledge about HIV - and their struggles to convert this knowledge into meaningful futures. In east Africa, the global response to the HIV-AIDS epidemic has resulted in a highly ‘projectified’ landscape of intervention, in which access to knowledge about HIV is intimately associated with participation in a internationally-funded treatment or research project. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in the city of Kisumu, this paper follows the circulation of biomedical knowledge through such projects and its conversion in ways beyond those imagined by policy-makers, as it meets the aspirations of city-dwellers and enters into local livelihoods. I explore the implications of this knowledge for those who seek to attach themselves to it and shape their identities and futures in relation to it.
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