Experimental Entanglements: Surveillance Science, Sex Worker Activism, and Evidentiary Politics in Kenya

Community-run drop-in centre wall colored by progress charts tracking outcomes of an HIV care program
 Photo by Robert Lorway


In Kenya, globally circulating HIV surveillance techniques are implicated in an emergent experimental terrain that merges scientific interest with health administration agendas. Sex worker activists reroute and repurpose this technocratic knowledge to more precisely pinpoint and defy the undemocratic imperatives of an encroaching experimental order that aims to govern the health of key populations. Reconstructing the conditions of emergence of these evidentiary politics reveals growing interdependencies between sex workers and scientific and technical experts as they are brought into increasing interaction with each other.