The HIV pandemic yielded the largest global response to any illness in history, offering an important lens through which to examine inequality and social justice. Early activism in places like New York City played a major role in drawing attention to the need for government action on HIV, but around the world, dramatic changes to the broader global health landscape were also occurring.
Although progress has been made on HIV and other global health issues, enormous disparities remain with regard to what health and illness look like, how programs and policies are implemented, and who lives and dies. These inequities – rooted in racism, sexism, homophobia, economic injustice, and global power structures – are inextricably linked to the social organization of societies, institutions, politics, and power, and thus require a response oriented towards social justice and informed by sociology.
This preconference will bring together scholars from diverse sociological approaches (e.g. medical, social movements, political, development, human rights, comparative/historical, global/transnational) with the goals of sharing cutting edge research, stimulating discussion around social justice and health, building collaborations, and laying out a future research agenda.
Importantly, it will provide an opportunity to think about how lessons learned from the HIV response can be adapted to other health issues; how global health research in other areas might inform the changing HIV response; and how sociologists are uniquely positioned to tackle our greatest health threats.
Sessions will advance theory and practice, while challenging sociologists to think critically about their role as scholars and potential as activists. Selected abstracts speak to the following themes: 1) Power, Politics and Global Health; 2) Health Inequities and the Consequences of Social Suffering; and 3) Health Activism and the Pursuit of Social Justice.