English: Critical ethnographic research methods are used in this article to suggest that
the concepts of capital, field, habitus and symbolic violence as conceptualised by
Bourdieu offer powerful ways to understand the experiences of HIV-positive women
dependent on public health-care facilities in Gauteng, South Africa. It is shown
that power relations, yielded by biomedical hegemony, androcentric sociocultural
practices, material deprivation, fear, discrimination and stigma demarcate the
experiences of women living with HIV, and potentially undermine their abilities
to become empowered.