Sexuality, Identity and Community—Reflections on the MESMAC Project
This chapter reflects on some of the issues that arose out of a particular HIVrelated project called MESMAC. We were the evaluators of this project and we use some of the material gathered in the research to analyse how aspects of sexuality, identity and community came into play and interacted with each other during the project’s work. Through a discussion of this material we then raise questions about the adequacy and use of concepts such as sexuality, community and identity. In the final part of the chapter we suggest the need for alternative ways of looking at identity that capture better its often shifting and flexible character. In particular we suggest the importance of a focus on the social processes by which individuals and groups construct and deconstruct their identities as significant ‘facts’. We relate this to the potential usefulness of the broader and more flexible concept of ‘affinity’ suggested by writers such as Haraway (1990). We feel that a consideration of such issues is not just theoretically interesting but of practical importance to HIV prevention.