There is a current debate in schools of social work in Taiwan about whether they should provide specific HIV/AIDS courses or integrate HIV/AIDS issues into the curriculum. However, an argument that draws on the understandings of curriculum development in social work has not emerged. This project not only explores why this is the case but also aims to resolve the debate.
This research is based on two methodologies, the development of a genealogy and content analysis of data collected to build the genealogy. Foucaultian conceptualisation of using a genealogy to explain the relationship between power and knowledge has been utilised as a primary theoretical framework. The texts analysed included social work documents as well as social documents. The research objectives were an exploration of what discourses related to HIV/AIDS were constructed in broader Taiwanese society and within social work; and what forces and stakeholders outside and within social work formed HIV/AIDS curricula in social work in Taiwan.
The first PLWHA case in Taiwan was reported in 1984, and four key discourses about HIV/AIDS were gradually constructed. They are individual pathological, programmatic, governmental, and socio-cultural discourses. The individual pathological discourse became dominant in Taiwan.
Taiwanese social work did not consider HIV/AIDS as an issue until 1992, nearly ten years after it was recognised as a serious medical and social problem in the West. This genealogical research shows that, over time, four key discourses about HIV/AIDS were also represented in Taiwanese social work texts. The programmatic discourse emerged as more popular in social work documents. The genealogy also showed that four identified subgroups within social work in Taiwan were more able to express their views about HIV/AIDS issues. They were social work scholars, practitioners, students and translated social work documents. Reflecting dominant wider social prejudices the genealogy revealed that Taiwanese social work scholars were likely to adhere to the individual pathological discourse, the discourse that blamed those with HIV/AIDS for their own predicament. The other three groups were likely to express a programmatic discourse, which often reflected the changing governmental response over time.
The genealogy also showed that influential forces outside social work included international responses on HIV/AIDS, the Taiwanese central governmental responses, social norms regarding sex, sexuality and homosexuality in Taiwan, and the status of social work in society.
The key findings of this research lay in the revelation of the power of the four key discourses, the four visible subgroups within social work and the influential forces outside social work in Taiwan that emerged as dominant throughout the genealogical study. These forces formed and shaped the development of HIV/AIDS curricula in a complex way. What these findings provide is a pathway for the development of a responsive curriculum for the education of future social workers in Taiwan.