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Organic intellectuals, crossing scales, and the emergence of social movements with respect to AIDS in South Africa AES Presidential Address for 2008



I examine the transmission of ideas, from both scientific research and state-sponsored misinformation, with respect to AIDS in southern Africa. On the basis of research among women in AIDS support groups, advocates with South Africa's Treatment Action Campaign, and global health activists, I interpret the role of grassroots social movements in relation to organic intellectuals and their abilities to address the commons from the local to the global. My research has focused specifically on how women's interests have registered in the scientific arena, in global AIDS funding, and at the local political level. As I analyze these issues, I comment more broadly on the role of public intellectuals in relation to social movements.