The Politics of the Body and the Body Politic: Magic Johnson and the Ideology of AIDS

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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This paper analyzes the discourse surrounding AIDS and HIV in the light of Magic Johnson’s public announcement that he was HIV positive. In the context of the New Right backlash of the 1980s, the bodies of Johnson and others have been used to (re)produce specific, narrowly defined messages about the meaning of AIDS and the HIV virus. Commercial and professional sports interests have used this event to enter into a well-established discourse that reproduces and reinforces the dominant messages of homophobia and misogyny surrounding the syndrome.

Samantha King is with the Department of Physical and Health Education, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada K7L 3N6.

Sociology of Sport Journal
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