Spirituality in film : a critical enquiry into the film Yesterday and the question of stigmatisation within the context of the HIV pandemic

Le Roux, Elisabet (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2008-03)

Thesis (MTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2008.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Conventional HIV intervention strategies are based on the presupposition that scientific knowledge and appropriate information about HIV will curb the spread of the disease. The dominant approaches to the HIV debate and pandemic focus mostly on the medical, pedagogical and ethical dimensions of the pandemic. Governments are concerned with democratic and human rights and the juridical implications of HIV. This study proposes that a team approach should be followed, with the emphasis on a holistic model of prevention care. In this regard it is hypothesised that the spiritual dimension, emphasising our human quest for meaning, moral decision-making and virtues as related to the transcendent dimension of our being human, should play a substantial role. One of the most burning issues in the pandemic is the phenomenon of stigmatisation. This investigation is in search of an approach that can effectively penetrate the realm of prejudice, blaming, and discrimination. If spirituality can address stigmatisation, antistigma interventions must acknowledge the role of pastoral care with its emphasis on ‘soul care’, values and meaning. The study explores the possibility of extending the traditional understanding of theology as fides quarens intellectum, with its emphasis on knowledge (the rational), to fides quares imaginem, with its emphasis on imagination (the aesthetic dimension of life). Therefore the important presupposition that, due to the aesthetic dimension of faith, care to people living with HIV should include the aesthetic dimension. If one links fides quares imaginem to fides quarens visum new options can be created for Practical Theology. In this regard, the visual dimension of life as represented by media, and specifically film, should be investigated in a HIV prevention strategy. The study thus proposes that a specific form of art, namely film, has potential as an effective antistigma intervention. It is hypothesised that film inherently has a spiritual dimension. This spiritual dimension could be linked to issues that can determine the direction and meaning of life, as well as the understanding of human identity and dignity. In this regard the study wants to determine to what extent film can play a fundamental role in addressing the realm of attitudes, convictions and belief systems. Film is thus suggested as a medium for spiritual intervention in order to bring about change on the level of perceptions. Lesser-educated people are very vulnerable, especially in relation to HIV. The study wants to explore whether film can be an effective medium of addressing, educating and influencing such people at their level. In order to test this, an empirical study was done to assess the effect that film has on HIV stigmatisation within such a group of people. The aim of the empirical research was not to create statistical evidence, but to illustrate certain trends and tendencies. A group of people from Vlaeberg, a rural area outside of Stellenbosch, South Africa, was chosen for the study. In order to empirically explore the potential of film in addressing HIV stigmatisation it was decided to use the film Yesterday, the first South African film to be nominated for an Oscar. The film was chosen for the following reasons: a) it is set within South Africa, depicting vulnerable persons within a rural setting; b) it has a positive, though realistic approach to HIV; c) it depicts the cruelty of stigmatisation; d) it shows how you can assist those with HIV; and e) it is easily understandable. The film was positively received and able to influence the stigmatising perceptions, attitudes and convictions of the target group. The empirical study proved that film has a spiritual dimension and should be used as a medium for spirituality formation. Due to this, it has an important role to play in antistigma interventions. In this regard, the research showed that film can indeed play a decisive role in a HIV prevention strategy and an antistigma intervention.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Konvensionele MIV-ingrypingstrategieë word gebaseer op die aanname dat wetenskaplike kennis en geskikte inligting aangaande MIV die verspreiding van die virus sal kan halt. Die dominante benaderings tot die MIV-debat en –pandemie fokus meesal op die mediese, pedagogiese en etiese dimensies van die pandemie. Regerings is bemoeid met die demokratiese regte, menseregte en wetlike implikasies van MIV. Hierdie studie stel voor dat ’n spanbenadering gevolg moet word, waarbinne die fokus sal wees op ’n holistiese model van voorkomende sorg. Die hipotese is dat die spiritualiteits-dimensie ’n substansiële rol moet speel, aangesien dit ons menslike strewe na betekenis, morele besluitneming en waardes, soos dit in verhouding staan tot die transendente dimensie van ons menswees, in ag neem. Een van die kwellende vraagstukke van die pandemie is stigmatisasie. Hierdie navorsing soek ’n benadering wat effektief die gebied van vooroordele, beskuldiging, en diskriminasie kan penetreer. Indien spiritualiteit stigmatisasie kan aanspreek, moet antistigma-ingrypings die rol van pastorale sorg, wat klem lê op ‘sielesorg’, waardes en betekenis, erken. Die studie ondersoek die moontlikheid dat die tradisionele verstaan van teologie as fides quarens intellectum, met die klem op kennis (die rasionele), uitgebrei moet word na fides quares imaginem, met die klem op die verbeelding (die estetiese dimensie van die lewe). Daarom word die belangrike aanname gemaak dat, as gevolg van die estetiese dimensie van geloof, sorg vir dié met MIV die estetiese dimensie moet insluit. As ’n mens fides quares imaginem skakel met fides quarens visum word nuwe moontlikhede ontsluit vir Praktiese Teologie. In hierdie opsig moet die visuele dimensie van die lewe, soos dit uitgebeeld word deur die media en meer spesifiek film, ondersoek word in ’n MIV-voorkomingstrategie. Die studie stel voor dat ’n spesifieke vorm van kuns, naamlik film, potensiaal het as ’n effektiewe antistigma-ingryping. Daarom die hipotese dat film inherent ’n spirituele dimensie het. Hierdie spirituele dimensie kan geskakel word met kwessies wat die rigting en betekenis van lewe kan bepaal, sowel as ons verstaan van menslike identiteit en waardigheid. Gevolglik wil hierdie studie bepaal tot watter mate film ’n fundamentele rol kan speel in die aanspreking van houdings en oortuigings. Film word dus voorgestel as ’n medium vir spirituele ingryping om sodoende verandering te bring op die vlak van persepsies. Mense met minder opvoeding is baie kwesbaar en blootgestel, veral in terme van MIV. Hierdie studie ondersoek of film ’n effektiewe medium kan wees om sulke mense aan te spreek, op te voed en te beïnvloed. Om dit te bepaal is ’n empiriese studie gedoen wat moes vasstel watter effek film het op MIV-stigmatisering binne so ’n groep. Die doel van die empiriese studie was nie om statistiese bewyse te lewer nie, maar om sekere neigings en tendense aan te toon. ’n Groep mense van Vlaeberg, ’n plattelandse area buite Stellenbosch, Suid-Afrika, is gebruik vir die studie. Die film Yesterday is gebruik vir die empiriese ondersoek aangaande die potensiaal wat film het om MIV-stigmatisering aan te spreek. Yesterday is die eerste Suid-Afrikaanse film wat vir ’n Oscar benoem is. Die film is gekies om die volgende redes: a) dit speel af in Suid- Afrika en weerlose mense binne ’n plattelandse omgewing word uitgebeeld; b) dit het ’n positiewe, dog realistiese benadering tot MIV; c) dit beeld die wreedheid van stigmatisering uit; d) dit dui aan hoe ’n mens diegene met MIV kan bystaan; en e) dit is maklik verstaanbaar. Die film was positief ontvang en het die stigmatiserende persepsies, houdings en oortuigings van die groep beïnvloed. Die empiriese studie het bewys dat film ’n spirituele dimensie het en as medium vir spirituele vorming gebruik moet word. Dus het film ’n belangrike rol te speel in antistigma-ingrypings. In hierdie opsig het die navorsing gewys dat film wel ’n deurslaggewende rol in ’n MIV-voorkomingstrategie en ’n antistigma-ingryping kan speel.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/20446
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