Dangerous order: Globalization, Canadian cities, and street -involved sex work

Author: Shawna Ferris

Citation (APA): Ferris, S. (2007). Dangerous order: Globalization, Canadian cities, and street-involved sex work. (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from Digital Commons @ McMaster. (UMI No. AAINR36033).

Abstract:

My dissertation considers the effects of transnational free market economics, urbanization, and growing concerns regarding home and homeland security on contemporary representations of and responses to street-involved sex work in Canada. Foregrounding the current legality of prostitution in Canada, as well as the growing number of serial kidnap and murder cases involving sex workers nationwide, the project brings together two broader cultural debates regarding the moral and cultural legitimacy of prostitution, and the growing socioeconomic “disposability” of the poor and other culturally marginalized populations in an emergent global order. The project thus explores how contemporary Canadian culture registers the changing role of the human/e and of the urban under global capitalism. ^ Considering current responses to the disappearance of sixty-eight women—many of whom were street sex workers—from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, Chapter One argues that sex workers’ traditional synecdochic relationship with the modern metropolis has become, in contemporary contexts, dangerously fraught. The gradual disintegration of such synecdoche, I argue, signifies the ongoing dissolution of socio-political ties between the nation-state and its citizenry. Chapter Two considers two imagistic tropes in sex work-related media reports, then analyzes urban anti-prostitution initiatives growing out of the Vancouver case and others. I argue that such tropes and actions further reify emerging discourses of street sex workers as cultural “waste.” Chapter Three examines sex worker activists’ interventions in such mainstream narrations. I discuss the political initiatives promoted on the websites of three major activist organizations, and explore the ways that online activism simultaneously expands and limits the cultural influence of these groups. Noting the over-representation of First Nations women among the victims in the Vancouver case and others, Chapter Four examines intersections between and resistance to Canada’s violent colonial history, racist public policies, and whore stigma in contemporary culture as they converge around Aboriginal women in Canada’s inner-city sex trade.

Full Document: http://digitalcommons.mcmaster.ca/dissertations/AAINR36033/

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