Date of Award

1-1-2011

Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Department

Geography

First Advisor

Edward Carr

Abstract

In response to their country's high HIV prevalence, Swaziland's government recently produced a report that included a call to create and implement more HIV/AIDS campaigns that specifically target certain segments of the population and certain behaviors that contribute to the perpetuation of the country's HIV/AIDS epidemic. In this dissertation, I identity and describe social contextual factors that contribute to Swaziland's university and college students' decisions to engage in sex without a condom and to participate in multiple concurrent partnerships. I argue that these findings, based on 24 focus groups conducted on four tertiary-level campuses, may be used to create campaigns specifically designed to address these issues as they pertain to college and university students. Throughout the dissertation, I consider the following four factors that contribute to an individual's social context: 1. The social structures and social norms that constitute the spaces and places he or she occupies; 2. The identities that he or she strives to maintain; 3. The roles society expects him or her to occupy; and 4. His or her body. In my efforts to identity and describe these factors, I integrate the understanding of identity put forth by geographers that stresses the mutual constitution of identities, space and place with the concrete definitions of roles and identities advanced by psychology and social psychology. This tactic proved effective and, I argue, could benefit identity studies throughout geography.

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