The AIDS Crisis and the Modern Self

Biographical Self-Construction in the Awareness of Finitude

  • Sebastian Rinken

Part of the International Library of Ethics, Law, and the New Medicine book series (LIME, volume 3)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvi
  2. Sebastian Rinken
    Pages 1-18
  3. Sebastian Rinken
    Pages 19-34
  4. Sebastian Rinken
    Pages 35-55
  5. Sebastian Rinken
    Pages 56-92
  6. Sebastian Rinken
    Pages 93-112
  7. Sebastian Rinken
    Pages 113-135
  8. Sebastian Rinken
    Pages 136-160
  9. Sebastian Rinken
    Pages 161-179
  10. Sebastian Rinken
    Pages 180-203
  11. Sebastian Rinken
    Pages 204-215
  12. Back Matter
    Pages 217-243

About this book


In industrialized countries, HIV/AIDS is now increasingly perceived as a chronic condition. Yet initially, before combination therapy became available, this pandemic was widely associated with premature or even imminent death. Receiving the diagnosis typically led to a dramatic biographical disruption.
This highly original book turns this basic feature of life with HIV into the vantage point for a fascinating analysis of Western subjectivity. Combining a host of empirical observations with the debate on the modern self, the author argues that the self-construction of people with HIV highlights the precarious yet indispensable status of the self in contemporary Western society. Constructing one's biography in terms of self-actualization is in fact a manifestation of nihilism: it evokes a standard of certainty which, on closer examination, cannot be sustained.
Written in a lucid style, this unique book will appeal to scholars and students in the fields of sociology, social psychology, social anthropology, social theory and philosophy, as well as anybody interested in the relationship between the self and society or the experience of living with HIV/AIDS.


AIDS Nation anthropology philosophy social psychology social theory sociology

Authors and affiliations

  • Sebastian Rinken
    • 1
  1. 1.London School of Economics and Political ScienceUK

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2000
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-90-481-5484-5
  • Online ISBN 978-94-015-9502-5
  • Series Print ISSN 1567-8008
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
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Finance, Business & Banking