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Boundaries of Contagion:
How Ethnic Politics Have Shaped Government Responses to AIDS
Evan S. Lieberman

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"In this book, Lieberman seeks to explain why countries or states have different public policies and public expenditures towards HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. His argument relies heavily on the ethnic configuration of nation-states. Brazil does well, South Africa does badly, and India's performance is found to be closer to South Africa. Because of the lower racial consciousness of decision makers and lower salience of race in Brazilian politics, argues Lieberman, governments are able to define HIV as a national, not an ethnic or racial, problem. In South Africa and India, race and caste dominate politics, the politics of blame and shame takes over, and the decision makers are unable to demonstrate the resoluteness that comes with viewing the problem as a national one. A fascinating argument."--Ashutosh Varshney, Brown University

"Why are some countries so callous toward AIDS victims? This book is the first to account systematically for national differences in AIDS policies. The greater the racial fragmentation in society, the comparative analysis shows, the more each racial group will use the tactics of shame and blame to avoid supporting public investment in AIDS treatment. While Evan Lieberman's evidence is distressing, his book is revealing."--David D. Laitin, Stanford University

"There has been a lack of meaningful work on the politics of HIV/AIDS, which is surprising given the prominence of the pandemic as a global issue and policy challenge. This book fills a real void and there is no question that it makes an important contribution to the field."--Richard Parker, Columbia University

"There is a great thirst for research on the social and political dynamics of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and Lieberman's book makes a decisive contribution to this literature. Boundaries of Contagion reframes the discussion of good policy in far-reaching and startling ways. It represents a heroic effort at developing a theory of how social boundaries shape the provision of public goods, and makes the most humane and compelling argument for nation-building that I have ever encountered."--Catherine Boone, University of Texas, Austin

"Boundaries of Contagion usefully separates the public health issue of which HIV/AIDS policies work best from the political science issue of which political forces are involved in shaping and constraining such policies. The analysis focuses rigorously on the political science issue without neglecting the public health issue."--James McGuire, Wesleyan University

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File created: 11/22/2015

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