Language and HIV/AIDS Edited by: Christina Higgins, Bonny Norton

Paperback - 296 pages
Related Formats:
04 Dec 2009
Critical Language and Literacy Studies
Multilingual Matters
210 x 148


This volume focuses on the role of language in the construction of knowledge about HIV/AIDS in diverse regions of the world. The collection of studies yields helpful insights about the discursive construction of this knowledge in both formal and informal contexts, while demonstrating how the tools of applied linguistics can be exercised to reveal a deeper understanding of the production and dissemination of this knowledge. The authors use a range of qualitative methodologies to critically explore the role of language and discourse in educational contexts in which various and sometimes competing forms of knowledge about HIV/AIDS are constructed. They draw on various forms of discourse analysis, ethnography, and social semiotics to interpret meaning-making practices in HIV/AIDS education in Australia, Cambodia, Burkina Faso, Hong Kong, India, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand, and Uganda.


Christina Higgins and Bonny Norton have brought together a remarkably diverse group of scholars who focus on the intersection of language and HIV/AIDS. The result is a stunningly vibrant volume, one that brims with insights based on qualitative analyses of a variety of public and private discourses from around the globe. _Language and HIV/AIDS_ is an outstanding example of the power of applied linguistics to illuminate critical real-world issues. A true treasure!

- Heidi Hamilton, Georgetown University, USA

While the existence of HIV/AIDS is sadly a global phenomenon, its significance is always local, personal, constructed and mediated through diverse networks both professional and intimate. Communication is central to these processes, yet too little attention has been paid as yet by researchers in applied linguistics to our understanding of both the disease and the workings of the networks themselves. This well-edited and coherent book takes up this challenge as its central motivation. Its diversity of authorship, site and focus will both greatly enhance our understanding of HIV/AIDS and further underscore the essential applied linguistic goal of ensuring practical relevance in its research.

- Christopher N Candlin, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

Applied linguistics doesn’t get better than this.

- Applied Linguistics (2010), First published online: December 8, 2010 - Gael Fonken, St Cloud State University

This important volume initiates a necessary dialogue exploring the interrelationship between complex social issues that sit at the crux of policy, practice, development, health care, education, and medicine. The book presents a geographically, contextually, and methodologically diverse contribution to research on language and HIV/AIDS - one that is sensitive, complicated, valuable, and thought-provoking.

- Discourse Studies, 13(3) 381-392, 2011 - Maureen T. Matarese, City University of New York, USA

The discourses and levels of analysis in the book provide linguists and researchers in communication studies with a fresh glimpse into strategies in interpersonal, inter-group and official communication not only in offline face-to-face contexts but also in computer-mediated situations. This book is therefore a good companion for students and researchers interested in linguistic and communicative aspects of HIV/AIDS discourses.

- Discourse & Communication 6(1), 2012 - Eric A. Anchimbe, University of Bayreuth, Germany

Author Biography:

Dr Christina Higgins is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Second Language Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where she teaches courses in sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, and intercultural communication. Her recent research has focused on communication in NGO-sponsored HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness education in Tanzania, where she has investigated the discursive construction of local and global worldviews. In her book, English as a local language: Post-colonial identities and multilingual practices (Multilingual Matters), she has also explored the role of language and popular culture in HIV/AIDS awareness efforts in hip hop lyrics and in public health advertisements. Her website can be found at

Dr Bonny Norton is Professor and Distinguished University Scholar in the Department of Language and Literacy Education, University of British Columbia, Canada.  Her award-winning research addresses identity and language learning, education and international development, and critical literacy. Her current research investigates the use of innovative technology to promote multilingual literacy in sub-Saharan Africa. Recent publications include Identity and Language Learning (Longman/Pearson, 2000); Critical Pedagogies and Language Learning (Cambridge University Press, 2004, w. K. Toohey); and Gender and English Language Learners (TESOL, 2004, w. A. Pavlenko). Her website can be found at

Readership Level:

Postgraduate, Research / Professional

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