Fixing Men: Sex, Birth Control, and AIDS in Mexico

Just finished (skim) reading this for my dissertation research.

I first read Matthew Gutmann when he was picking apart James Scott’s Weapons of the Weak in a journal article somewhere, I liked his argument that focussing on “everyday resistance” overlooked the mass, organised resistance spreading throughout Latin American communities, and that “everyday resistance” assumed that organised, overt resistance was beyond the means of peasants and other “undesirables”. Anyone who puts that kind of people-power spin on things gets me interested.

I’ll write more about Fixing Men some other time, but I wish I had time to do more than skim-read it for facts and figures about Mexican healthcare, because his take on masculinity and sexuality is fascinating. I’d recommend this book to anyone interested in AIDS, male sexuality, the privatisation of public health and discourses around sexual health. He interviewed his research subjects, men in Oaxaca, while they were having vasectomies, a big change from the usual anthropological methods of getting to know your informants over time whilst doing day-to-day activities alongside them. You can’t get much more “out of the ordinary” than getting a vasectomy.

‘Fixing Men: Sex, Birth Control, and AIDS in Mexico’, Matthew Gutmann, Berkeley, University of California Press

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