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Global Governance of AIDS : Partnerships with Civil Soviety


  • Peter Söderholm

Summary, in English

The global governance of AIDS is dependent for its success on the concerted efforts of actors from both local and global levels, thus challenging the current international organization based on state sovereignty. The study seeks to understand the processes behind the creation of partnerships among the many different nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) active in AIDS politics and the intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) charged with combatting the epidemic. The central argument is that different understandings emerge depending on which theoretical framework the researcher adopts. Söderholm analyzes AIDS governance using three prototypical frameworks: a Gramscian framework, an interorganizational framework, and a framework based on individual networks and leadership. These each highlight different forces and tensions at play in AIDS governance but, simultaneously, and even necessarily, ignore other aspects. For instance, the Gramscian approach privileges discursive formations, the interorganizational framework prioritizes resource interdependencies, and the network model brings out consensual knowledge as the central concern for understanding the global governance of AIDS. More specifically, from the Gramscian framework, AIDS governance is a struggle between competing discursive formations. With the advent of AIDS, the hegemony of intergovernmentally run public-health programs was challenged by counterhegemonic groups intent on broadening both the basis of global policymaking in state sovereignty and the narrow focus on public health for AIDS control and prevention. The 3historic bloc3 was forced to accommodate, and tried both to co-opt and to discipline the counterhegemonic groups. The interorganizational framework interprets the process as challenges to the dominating position of the World Health Organization1s Global Programme on AIDS (GPA). GPA was established to lead and coordinate a global strategy of AIDS control and prevention, but lack of crucial resources for AIDS prevention and a questioning of GPA1s competence precipitated closer relations between GPA and NGOs. Efficient AIDS prevention necessitated closer links from this perspective. A network approach, lastly, see closer links as a result of an evolution of a shared understanding and trust between the key players involved in AIDS politics. Networks comprising IGO and NGO representatives evolved, and mutual animosity and prejudices were gradually replaced by confidence and appreciation. Each of the three frameworks contributes a unique piece to the nuanced picture of the studied processes that results from their combination. Lastly, the question of whether the politics of AIDS signals the advent of a new post-Westphalian way of global governance is addressed.

Publishing year





Lund Political Studies



Document type



Lund University Press


  • Political Science


  • AIDS
  • Global Governance
  • sovereignty
  • partnerships
  • Political and administrative sciences
  • nongovernmental organization
  • intergovernmental organization
  • Statsvetenskap
  • förvaltningskunskap




  • [unknown] [unknown]


  • ISBN: 91-7966-424-5

Defence date

11 June 1997

Defence time


Defence place

Edens hörsal, Paradisgatan 5H, Lund


  • Helge Ole Bergesen