Second Chances

Surviving AIDS in Uganda

Second Chances

Critical Global Health: Evidence, Efficacy, Ethnography

More about this series

Book Pages: 328 Illustrations: 12 illustrations Published: November 2014

African Studies, Anthropology > Medical Anthropology, Medicine and Health > Global Health

During the first decade of this millennium, many thousands of people in Uganda who otherwise would have died from AIDS got second chances at life. A massive global health intervention, the scaling up of antiretroviral therapy (ART), saved them and created a generation of people who learned to live with treatment. As clients they joined programs that offered free antiretroviral medicine and encouraged "positive living." Because ART is not a cure but a lifelong treatment regime, its consequences are far-reaching for society, families, and individuals. Drawing on personal accounts and a broad knowledge of Ugandan culture and history, the essays in this collection explore ART from the perspective of those who received second chances. Their concerns about treatment, partners, children, work, food, and bodies reveal the essential sociality of Ugandan life. The collection is based on research undertaken by a team of social scientists including both Western and African scholars.

Contributors. Phoebe Kajubi, David Kyaddondo, Lotte Meinert, Hanne O. Mogensen, Godfrey Etyang Siu, Jenipher Twebaze, Michael A. Whyte, Susan Reynolds Whyte


“The stories are compelling, and the analytical chapters do a good job connecting contemporary developments with the existing anthropology of HIV/AIDS…. Recommended.” — M. M. Heaton, Choice

Second Chances is recommended reading for anyone interested in the experiences of people with HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. This is also a good book for anyone who is thinking about health systems. One of Whyte’s points that I found particularly important is that people do not simply access treatment, but achieve it.” — Anita Chary, Global Health Hub

“This is a unique study because it focuses on individuals and how disease and health care affects them. It provides a glimpse at a culture that is rarely covered, as well. Academic libraries supporting social sciences and health sciences programs will want to add this fascinating look at HIV/AIDS from a singular perspective to their collections."  — Barbara Bibel, Library Journal

“Readers familiar with the work of Susan Reynolds Whyte and her colleagues will not be disappointed in this compelling book. In the end, the lesson of Second Chances is that reliance on ‘contingent sociality’ means that not everyone who needs ARTs can get them. The chance for a second chance, therefore, is inherently fragile and unequal. Reynolds Whyte and colleagues offer no solutions, but the moving stories of survival and striving for both a living and a life remind us of the work that remains” — Janet W. McGrath, Medical Anthropology Quarterly

"Second Chances is an excellent source of health narratives about negotiating HIV status in Uganda. Second Chances will naturally interest anthropologists of East Africa, HIV and biosociality." — Jason Johnson Peretz, Somatosphere

"Second Chances offers a rigorous and vivid look at the first generation of Ugandans with AIDS to have relatively wide access to antiretroviral therapy . . . . The book is a compelling chronicle of the terms of this 'life sentence'." — Tyler Zoanni, Social Anthropology

"The book is a great resource for anyone interested in: the rollout of ART in an African context; Ugandan kinship and social relations; collaborative ethnographic work; and the anthropology of chronic illness. . . . Each chapter opens with a rich ethnographic story that captures the imagination as well as it illustrates the main theme of the chapter. I was particularly drawn to Suzan’s case illustrating mobility and transport. I could not think of when I had last read such a rich, compelling and illuminating account of the distance people go (literally and figuratively) for their health, and would be quick to assign this to students if exploring the topics of transport and mobility." — Megan Wainwright, Center for Medical Humanities

"Second Chances provides insight of impressive range and depth into the impact of global health programs. It moves medical anthropology's theoretical agenda along by offering a subtle but sharp critique of contemporary manifestations of biological/therapeutic citizenship. Yet its greatest innovation may be methodological. As a convincing work of collective ethnography, Second Chances reveals the productive potential of 'team' or 'project' anthropology."
— Vinh-Kim Nguyen, author of The Republic of Therapy: Triage and Sovereignty in West Africa's Time of AIDS

"Bringing classic social anthropology questions to contemporary biopolitical contexts, Second Chances resituates the center of gravity in HIV/AIDS care around the concerns of its patients. The authors make clear the vital role of kinship, patronage, generation, and the economic and bodily concerns of everyday life in determining life amid shifting regimes of global health. With its superb use of extended cases, lively prose, and compelling analysis, Second Chances sets a new standard for collaborative scholarship."
— Julie Livingston, author of Improvising Medicine: An African Oncology Ward in an Emerging Cancer Epidemic


Availability: In stock
Price: $27.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Susan Reynolds Whyte is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Copenhagen. She is the author of Questioning Misfortune: The Pragmatics of Uncertainty in Eastern Uganda, coauthor of Social Lives of Medicines, and coeditor of Disability in Local and Global Worlds.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Polygraphy vii

Introduction. The First Generation 1

Case I. Robinah and Joyce: The Connecting Sisters 25

1. Connections 34

Case II. Saddam: Treatment Programs 47

2. Clientship 56

Case III. Suzan: The Necessity of Travel 71

3. Mobility 80

Case IV. MamaGirl & MamaBoy: Family Matters 95

4. Families 104

Case V. Alice: Keeping a Good Man 119

5. Partners 128

Case VI. Jackie: Children without Grandparents 143

6. Children 152

Case VII. John: Working Contingencies 167

7. Work 176

Case VIII. Hassan: Soft Food and Town Life 191

8. Food 200

Case IX. Jolly: Appearances and Numbers 215

9. Bodies 223

Case X. Rachel: Buckets of Medicine 237

10. Medicine 245

Case XI. Dominic: A Multitude of Adversities 259

11. Life 268

Acknowledgments 285

Bibliography 287

Contributors 299

Index 301
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

Rights and licensing

Honorable Mention, 2015 New Millennium Book Award, Society for Medical Anthropology

Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-5808-4 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-5795-7
Publicity material