2008 volume 26(5) pages 875 – 894

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Ingram A, 2008, "Domopolitics and disease: HIV/AIDS, immigration, and asylum in the UK" Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 26(5) 875 – 894

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Domopolitics and disease: HIV/AIDS, immigration, and asylum in the UK

Alan Ingram

Received 14 February 2008; in revised form 25 June 2008

Abstract. Geographers and others have become increasingly interested in the intersections between globalization, disease, and security, particularly in relation to ‘short-wave’ public health threats such as SARS and pandemic influenza, but ‘long-wave’ epidemics such as HIV/AIDS are also often said to raise questions of security. While a literature is emerging to analyze the politics of security in relation to global HIV/AIDS relief, in this paper I argue that it is also important analytically and politically to connect and contrast this with the ways that HIV/AIDS is politicized as a security issue in relation to immigration and asylum within Western states themselves. Drawing on literatures in governmentality, biopolitics, and security, I examine the politics of HIV/AIDS, immigration, and asylum in the UK from 1997 to 2007 with particular reference to the reactionary press coverage that influenced policy formation and judicial rulings in this period. Following the work of William Walters, I trace the emergence of a ‘domopolitical’ rationality in press reporting around HIV/AIDS in terms of a number of imaginative geographies, and suggest that these imaginative geographies are both biopolitical in a classical sense and connected with the colonial dimensions of the present. The circulation of these imaginative geographies through policy and legal developments, the dilemmas they have raised, and resistance to them from medical, civil society, and parliamentary groups are then outlined. Reflecting on the disjuncture in approaches to HIV/AIDS between the global and national spheres, I argue that while the association of HIV/AIDS and security is enhancing life chances for many it is also reducing them for people caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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