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The Development of Risk Politics in the UK: Thatcher’s ‘Remarkable’ but Forgotten ‘Don’t Die of Ignorance’ AIDS Campaign

Burgess, Adam (2017) The Development of Risk Politics in the UK: Thatcher’s ‘Remarkable’ but Forgotten ‘Don’t Die of Ignorance’ AIDS Campaign. Health, Risk and Society, 19 (5-6). pp. 227-245. ISSN 1369-8575. E-ISSN 1469-8331. (doi:10.1080/13698575.2017.1380173)

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Thirty years on from the dramatic and unprecedented AIDS advertising campaign organised by the Conservative administration of the late 1980s, this article reassesses the experience drawing upon subsequent memoirs and interviews. It does so in the context of an emergence of risk politics in the UK in the 1980s, situated within an historical perspective on the development of risk within modernity. Emphasis is placed upon the forgotten pragmatic, amoral core of the campaign which challenged the illiberal climate of the times, and how it was possible for an administration defined by high moralism to challenge it. The range of pressures that led to the campaign are outlined, including a conscious attempt to limit stigmatisation amidst the mood of wartime emergency that prevailed in late 1986/early 1987. Its emergency character meant little direct legacy of harm reduction has endured, but the article argues for a wider significance of the campaign as a key moment in the emergence of risk politics in the UK and beyond.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/13698575.2017.1380173
Uncontrolled keywords: AIDS, HIV, risk, risk politics, 1980s, public health
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Adam Burgess
Date Deposited: 13 Sep 2017 09:32 UTC
Last Modified: 22 Jan 2020 04:10 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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