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Title:'She's just like my mother': measuring motherhood in the context of the HIV epidemic in South Africa
Author:Marshak, NaomiISNI
Periodical:Anthropology Southern Africa (ISSN 2332-3264)
Geographic term:South Africa
child care
Abstract:This paper emerges from an ethnographic study conducted in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, in 2010 that explored the practices of a humanitarian intervention providing psychosocial support for and strengthening the bonds between orphans and children made vulnerable by HIV and their non-biological guardians. Examining the interface between the programme and its participants, the paper focuses on the social politics that emerged out of the organization's bond strengthening vision. It demonstrates the complex ways in which interventionist intention is reworked at ground level and how an essentially humanitarian goal was 'twisted' into a tool with which to 'measure' motherhood. Although these interventions can be supportive and appreciated by the individuals involved, the complex moralistic ground level reworking of organizational intentions points to the need for organizations to be acutely aware of the malleability of the discourses they employ. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]