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Minor field study: AIDS - how it affects the elders and the social system in Zambian society

Axelsen, Maja Fink (2006)
Social Anthropology
Abstract
AIDS has a great impact on the life of the individual in Zambian society but also the collectiveness of family households and local community life is highly affected by the death of many individuals and family members. It is mainly adults in their working age 15-50 whom are sexually active, that gets infected with HIV and die. This leaves the rest of the family members to fulfil new roles in the household. The elders of Zambia end up having to perform the role as main caretaker and head-of-household for the rest of the family. Normally the extended family network in Zambia would work as a security net for sick and orphans that would be looked after by relatives. Urbanisation has caused split ups in families that move far away from each... (More)
AIDS has a great impact on the life of the individual in Zambian society but also the collectiveness of family households and local community life is highly affected by the death of many individuals and family members. It is mainly adults in their working age 15-50 whom are sexually active, that gets infected with HIV and die. This leaves the rest of the family members to fulfil new roles in the household. The elders of Zambia end up having to perform the role as main caretaker and head-of-household for the rest of the family. Normally the extended family network in Zambia would work as a security net for sick and orphans that would be looked after by relatives. Urbanisation has caused split ups in families that move far away from each other and lose connection. The family network is weakened and AIDS impact has fractured the network even more as families no longer have the capacity to help each other as they are all in some way affected by the AIDS pandemic. Due to AIDS and poverty, families and the whole social system is crippled. The elders that would normally be looked after by their children and grandchildren as custom prescribes end up having to look after and nurse their HIV-infected children and take care of their grandchildren. As they end up as head-of-household and main caretaker, they are responsible for an income for the household and have to get back into the labour market even though many elders are too old to work. How do elders and households cope with the impact of AIDS? Kinship relations are altered due to the heavy pressure from AIDS. Concerning gender, it is often more difficult for women to find proper work and support a family where the male members are absent and also generational interaction between age groups is changing and both old and young groups find it difficult to fulfil their roles toward each other. (Less)
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author
Axelsen, Maja Fink
supervisor
organization
year
type
H1 - Master's Degree (One Year)
subject
keywords
medical anthropology, AIDS, Zambia, extended family network, socialantropologi, Cultural anthropology, ethnology, Kulturantropologi, etnologi
language
English
id
1329719
date added to LUP
2006-04-19
date last changed
2006-04-19
@misc{1329719,
  abstract     = {AIDS has a great impact on the life of the individual in Zambian society but also the collectiveness of family households and local community life is highly affected by the death of many individuals and family members. It is mainly adults in their working age 15-50 whom are sexually active, that gets infected with HIV and die. This leaves the rest of the family members to fulfil new roles in the household. The elders of Zambia end up having to perform the role as main caretaker and head-of-household for the rest of the family. Normally the extended family network in Zambia would work as a security net for sick and orphans that would be looked after by relatives. Urbanisation has caused split ups in families that move far away from each other and lose connection. The family network is weakened and AIDS impact has fractured the network even more as families no longer have the capacity to help each other as they are all in some way affected by the AIDS pandemic. Due to AIDS and poverty, families and the whole social system is crippled. The elders that would normally be looked after by their children and grandchildren as custom prescribes end up having to look after and nurse their HIV-infected children and take care of their grandchildren. As they end up as head-of-household and main caretaker, they are responsible for an income for the household and have to get back into the labour market even though many elders are too old to work. How do elders and households cope with the impact of AIDS? Kinship relations are altered due to the heavy pressure from AIDS. Concerning gender, it is often more difficult for women to find proper work and support a family where the male members are absent and also generational interaction between age groups is changing and both old and young groups find it difficult to fulfil their roles toward each other.},
  author       = {Axelsen, Maja Fink},
  keyword      = {medical anthropology,AIDS,Zambia,extended family network,socialantropologi,Cultural anthropology, ethnology,Kulturantropologi, etnologi},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Minor field study: AIDS - how it affects the elders and the social system in Zambian society},
  year         = {2006},
}