ERIC Number: ED289189
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
A Clash of Symbols: An Analysis of Competing Images and Arguments in the AIDS Controversy.
Efforts to contain the spread of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) have been slowed by numerous arguing factions, political, religious, and medical, all of which perceive the AIDS epidemic through a different set of symbols. The images can be more easily understood using Kenneth Boulding's Threat, Integry, and Exchange (or TIE) model. The triangular model suggests that interactions based on threat images are destructive, founded on one group subjugating another. Groups who base their actions on threat images include Christian fundamentalists, who conclude that the disease is an act of divine retribution; the medical community, which sees AIDS as a threat to its authority and ability to cure disease, and some gay groups, who see AIDS as a threat to their political autonomy and sexual freedom. Action based on exchange images are more productive, including spending tax dollars on AIDS research, while action based on integrative images is the most productive, encompassing the acknowledgement of identity in relation to others. Churches that have welcomed gays into their membership and groups that have been formed to deal specifically with the AIDS issue fall into this category. It is held that Boulding's concept of integry provides the best model for a pragmatic and thoughtful response to the "situational exigence" of AIDS, and the public should attend to those in the AIDS debate who articulate this unifying image. (Four pages of references are included.) (JC)
Descriptors: Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, Communicable Diseases, Conflict, Current Events, Medicine, Models, Moral Issues, Political Issues, Problem Solving, Religious Conflict, Scientific Research, Social Change, Social Discrimination, Social Problems, Symbolic Language, Traditionalism, Values
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (73rd, Boston, MA, November 5-8, 1987).