The AIDS Notebooks

By Stephen Schecter

Subjects: Philosophy Of The Social Sciences
Series: SUNY series in the Philosophy of the Social Sciences
Paperback : 9780791403341, 166 pages, July 1990
Hardcover : 9780791403334, 166 pages, July 1990

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Table of contents

All That Is Left Is the Individual
A Preface by Lenore Langsdorf

"Perdido Street Blues"

A Strand of Something More Malign: Medicine, Technique, and Progress

Community as Absence

Devant la douleur

What Makes AIDS a Modern Disease?

But Also a Postmodern One


Aron on AIDS: Homosexuality as Absolute Difference

No Man's Land

On the Importance of Regret

Isn't Sex Something Else, Now?


In Pain

Messiaen: Quatuor Pour La Fin Du Temps

And Still These Words




This book reflects on the meaning of contemporary life in the light of diverse social reactions to AIDS. Drawing on personal interviews with gay men in Montreal, newspaper reports, government action, historical parallels, and other social facts, the author shows what the AIDS phenomenon can reveal about the nature of current reality. Intimate dimensions of experience are explored in order to understand the medical definition of human life, the 'post-modern' character of the contemporary period, and the pervasive influence of technique. The social analysis of AIDS is interwoven with personal, literary, and philosophical reflections that rebound onto the terrain of intimacy, allowing us to see what a critical reading of AIDS as a social phenomenon tells us about the elemental dramas of existence — of love, pain, death, and sex.

Represented here is one man's stock-taking of his generation's experience, exploring the social futures that different reactions to AIDS hold out to us. In the tradition of critical thought, the book is a contribution to the understanding which rescues life from the absurd.

Stephen Schecter is a Professor of Sociology at the Université du Québec à Montréal.


"Stephen Schecter has written a powerful account of the AIDS epidemic. The AIDS Notebooks brings together history, AIDS information, and humanistic perspectives for the reader. His writing style is vivid, realistic, and engaging. This book is mandatory reading for all of us concerned about this epidemic." — A. Gene Copello, Vanderbilt AIDS Project