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Seeing like a 'PWA': a study of therapeutic citizens and welfare subjects in Cape Town, South Africa

The Government of Chronic Poverty: from the politics of exclusion to the politics of citizenship? working paper series

Christopher Colvin
Joan Leavens
Steven Robins


This paper investigates how the South African state has sought to address the relationship between HIV and poverty through a range of interventions, aimed at both increasing access to HIV-related health services and addressing the underlying socioeconomic dimensions of chronic poverty among those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. The paper also considers how individuals, communities and community-based organisations (CBOs) have responded to these state interventions and integrated them (or not) with other strategies for survival. It asks how the various policies and programmes frame the relationship between HIV and poverty, and how these state discourses intersect with the perspectives, demands and needs of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), CBOs, activists and people living with AIDS (PWAs). In particular, the paper is concerned with investigating the ways in which liberal forms of government frame PWAs as a particular category of ‘deserving’ and ‘entrepreneurial’ citizens, and then tries to reframe them through a package of health and welfare interventions.


Publication Type(s)

CPRC Working Paper


poverty South Africa HIV AIDS welfare citizenship Government of chronic poverty series

ISBN: 978-1-906433-46-8


1 Seeing like a 'PWA' PDF 328.1 KB

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