Movement, Knowledge, Emotion

Movement, Knowledge, Emotion

Gay activism and HIV/AIDS in Australia

Authored by: Jennifer Power

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This book is about community activism around HIV/AIDS in Australia. It looks at the role that the gay community played in the social, medical and political response to the virus. Drawing conclusions about the cultural impact of social movements, the author argues that AIDS activism contributed to improving social attitudes towards gay men and lesbians in Australia, while also challenging some entrenched cultural patterns of the Australian medical system, allowing greater scope for non-medical intervention into the domain of health and illness. The book documents an important chapter in the history of public health in Australia and explores how HIV/AIDS came to be a defining issue in the history of gay and lesbian rights in Australia.


ISBN (print):
ISBN (online):
Publication date:
Sep 2011
ANU Press
Arts & Humanities: Cultural Studies, History; Social Sciences: Social Policy & Administration


In Australian Historical Studies, Vol 44, Issue 1, April 2013, Clive Moore, of the University of Queensland, reviews Jennifer Power’s book Movement, Knowledge, Emotion: Gay Activism and HIV/AIDS in Australia.

Moore praises Power’s coverage of “the crucial 1980s and 1990s”, adding “The book will be useful for any community group that is attempting to assert its role in public health.”

Moore writes: “Power uses a range of print and interview sources to create a valuable reminder to Australians of the changes that HIV/AIDS has brought, not only to lives but to the ‘ownership’ of disease management. Published almost a decade after Sendziuk’s Learning to Trust, Power’s Movement, Knowledge, Emotion has a different emphasis and does not attempt to deal much with the last twenty years. This more recent period still needs to be covered, to carry the HIV/AIDS story through to the present. Like maintaining the gay movement itself, vigilance is necessary to ensure that once the basics have been achieved, the cause does not get forgotten.”

(Clive Moore, review of Movement, Knowledge, Emotion: Gay Activism and HIV/AIDS in Australia, by Jennifer Power, for Australian Historical Studies, Vol 44, Issue 1, April 2013, pp. 164-165.)

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