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Tag Archives: Theory and Method

Leser, Julia. ‘On the Sensory Policing of Vices:  Morality at Work in a German Vice Squad’. Journal of Extreme Anthropology 4, no. 1 (7 March 2020): 22–44. https://doi.org/10.5617/jea.7358.

Abstract

This paper explores the policing of vices and offers a critical inquiry into the affective politics of policing practices seen through police and state ethnography, political anthropology, and the ‘affective turn’ in social and cultural theory. It shows how the moral worlds of policing sex work and performing raids in the red-light ‘milieu’ are constituted in the making of boundaries through visual, olfactory, somatosensory, and auditory sensations, which can be understood as normative performances in the realm of morality. Police officers do not engage in a neutral gaze but transform the sensuous into sensations that enact these normative distinctions between the ‘normal’ and the ‘abnormal’ – the morally questionable red-light ‘milieu.’ These practices can be read in regard to a morality that is conveyed in and through the officers’ sensational performances in an observingly affective and somatic manner. Morality not simply is but is being done—and performing affects and sensations plays a significant role in the making of moral worlds in the realm of policing. Raiding the red-light ‘milieu’ is a performance on disorder and order, on what is normal and what is not, and thus a deeply political practice that reveals how order- and boundary-making operates through basic sensations and feelings, of the sensuous, the aesthetic, and the somatic.

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Jones, Angela. ‘Where The Trans Men and Enbies At?: Cissexism, Sexual Threat, and the Study of Sex Work’. Sociology Compass 2020. https://doi.org/10.1111/soc4.12750.

Abstract
In this article, I examine the existing research on transgender sex workers and explore how cissexism and sexism overlap and shape this work. Overall, researchers assume that all trans sex workers are women, and all male sex workers are assumed to be cisgender. Transmasculine and other gender non‐conforming sex workers are absent from studies of sex work. Researchers in public health and criminology dominate the literature and this research is limited because it focuses only on trans women and because it focuses primarily on disease and trauma, and almost exclusively on HIV. The literature I examined treats transgender women as a public health “problem” to be solved, rather than addressing their experiences and needs as workers and as people in our society. I argue that in order to have useful applied and policy implications aimed at harm reduction, researchers must use a sociological lens to document what structural conditions push and pull people of various genders into sex markets in the first place. Finally, I advocate for the use of queer, intersectional, and transnational frameworks in future lines of inquiries as a way to push the sociological and public health literature on sex work forward in a way that will benefit all sex workers, their advocates, and service providers.

Birgit Sauer (2019). Mobilizing shame and disgust: abolitionist affective frames in Austrian and German anti-sex-work movements, Journal of Political Power, 12:3, 318-338, DOI: 10.1080/2158379X.2019.1669262

This article analyses anti-sex-work mobilization in Austria and Germany since 2014. An affective perspective on the websites of these groups shows how their framings run the risk of establishing a disciplinary regime of governing people, of a restrictive, heterosexist norm of sexuality, and of gender inequality. Abolitionist strategies in the two countries thus produce an affective governmentality excluding those who should not belong to the affective community, i.e. those who do not submit to limiting their sexuality to the private realm of monogamous relationships. Finally, the article suggests that the abolitionist affective mobilisation feeds into the self-affirmation of traditional branches of women’s movements in the two countries.

Sex Workers’ Personal and Professional Lives” – Special Issue of Sexual and Relationship Therapy 34(3), 2019.

Antebi-Gruszka, Nadav, Daniel Spence, and Stella Jendrzejewski. 2019. ‘Guidelines for Mental Health Practice with Clients Who Engage in Sex Work’. Sexual and Relationship Therapy 34 (3): 339–54. https://doi.org/10.1080/14681994.2019.1573978.

Bahri, Jacenta. 2019. ‘Boyfriends, Lovers, and “Peeler Pounders”: Experiences of Interpersonal Violence and Stigma in Exotic Dancers’ Romantic Relationships’. Sexual and Relationship Therapy 34 (3): 309–28. https://doi.org/10.1080/14681994.2019.1617415.

Bloomquist, Katie, and Eric Sprankle. 2019. ‘Sex Worker Affirmative Therapy: Conceptualization and Case Study’. Sexual and Relationship Therapy 34 (3): 392–408. https://doi.org/10.1080/14681994.2019.1620930.

Dickson, Holly. 2019. ‘Sex Work, Motherhood, and Stigma’. Sexual and Relationship Therapy 34 (3): 332–34. https://doi.org/10.1080/14681994.2019.1573980.

Johnson, Joey. 2019. ‘Dating While Sex Working: Civilian Dates Carry More Risk for Sex Workers’. Sexual and Relationship Therapy 34 (3): 329–31. https://doi.org/10.1080/14681994.2019.1624713.

Matos, Bella, and Lola Haze. 2019. ‘Bottoms up: A Whorelistic Literature Review and Commentary on Sex Workers’ Romantic Relationships’. Sexual and Relationship Therapy 34 (3): 372–91. https://doi.org/10.1080/14681994.2019.1636958.

Rayson, Josephine, and Beatrice Alba. 2019. ‘Experiences of Stigma and Discrimination as Predictors of Mental Health Help-Seeking among Sex Workers’. Sexual and Relationship Therapy 34 (3): 277–89. https://doi.org/10.1080/14681994.2019.1628488.

Sawicki, Danielle A., Brienna N. Meffert, Kate Read, and Adrienne J. Heinz. 2019. ‘Culturally Competent Health Care for Sex Workers: An Examination of Myths That Stigmatize Sex Work and Hinder Access to Care’. Sexual and Relationship Therapy 34 (3): 355–71. https://doi.org/10.1080/14681994.2019.1574970.

Tempest, Tiffany. 2019. ‘Relationship Boundaries, Abuse, and Internalized Whorephobia’. Sexual and Relationship Therapy 34 (3): 335–38. https://doi.org/10.1080/14681994.2019.1574400.

Wolf, Ariel. 2019. ‘Stigma in the Sex Trades’. Sexual and Relationship Therapy 34 (3): 290–308. https://doi.org/10.1080/14681994.2019.1573979.

Cheng, Sealing. “Echoes of Victimhood: On Passionate Activism and ‘Sex Trafficking.’” Feminist Theory, Oct. 2019, doi:10.1177/1464700119881303.
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The sexually violated woman has become a salient symbol in feminist discourse, government policies, the media and transnational activism at this historical juncture. In this article, I seek to understand the conviction of anti-prostitution activists that all women in prostitution are victims (despite evidence to the contrary), and their simultaneous dismissal or condemnation of those women who identify as sex workers. The analysis identifies the centrality of victimhood to the affective logic of women activist leaders in the anti-prostitution movement, and its embeddedness in discourses of suffering and redemption in Korean nationalist historiography. Sexual victimhood thus acquires the power to incite moral outrage, compel consensus and inhibit dissent. Sex workers further come to bear the historical and political burden of righting all that is wrong with the nation, making their elimination essential for the nation’s rescue. Critiques of capitalism and the state become footnotes and silences in this process. In effect, the victimhood of ‘prostituted women’ allows women activists to circulate effectively in the affective economy of the nation as well as in the global anti-trafficking campaign. The passionate activism of anti-prostitution women activists may say less about the state of prostitution than about the activists’ subjectivity as historical and global subjects, and the symbolic world that they locate themselves in.

Hu, Ran. 2019. ‘Examining Social Service Providers’ Representation of Trafficking Victims: A Feminist Postcolonial Lens’. Affilia, August, 0886109919868832. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886109919868832.
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As anti-trafficking social service providers (SSPs) facilitate the process of victim recovery and empowerment, they also participate in the dissemination of trafficking-related knowledge to the general public. Drawing on a feminist postcolonial framework, this study sought to examine how anti-trafficking SSPs represent trafficking victims in written narratives published on their organizational websites. Thirty-three narratives were drawn from the websites of 10 New York–based anti-trafficking SSPs. Despite the widespread adoption of a strength-based term, “survivor,” the narratives were found to reinforce a gendered and racialized representation of trafficking victims as sex trafficked women from the “global South” and to (re)produce many “ideal” trafficking victim stereotypes that have been dominating the current discourses of trafficking. A “life transformation” discourse was pervasive, discursively foregrounding the positive impact of the SSPs on trafficking survivors. The findings suggested a need for anti-trafficking SSPs to engage with critical reflection on their positionality and intentionality in representing trafficking victims/survivors and to adopt a survivor-led storytelling paradigm. This study also provided a timely reminder for social work practitioners and researchers to continue to challenge the dominant narratives embedded in their fields of practice, to exercise critical self-reflexivity, and to provide a discursive space for those who have been deprived of voices.

Berg, Rigmor C, Sol-Britt Molin, and Julie Nanavati. 2019. ‘Women Who Trade Sexual Services from Men: A Systematic Mapping Review’. The Journal of Sex Research, July, 1–15. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2019.1624680.
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Most research on transactional sex frame men as buyers and females as sellers of sex. We conducted a systematic mapping review of the empirical research on transactional sex where women form the demand (buyer) and men the supply (seller). We included 46 studies, of which 25 explicitly researched women as buyers of sex from male sellers, and 21 studies where this topic was a subset of larger topics. The majority of research on women who trade sexual services from men is published in the last 15 years, by female researchers, using cross-sectional or qualitative/ethnographic design, and from the perspective of males as sellers. While the women appear to be mature and financially independent, the men are young and socioeconomically vulnerable. Men’s main motivation for the sexual-economic exchanges with women is financial, whereas women’s motivations are largely satisfaction of sexual needs and a stereotyped erotic fantasy of black male hypersexuality. Condoms are often not used. Our review shows that there is a – possibly growing and diversifying – female consumer demand for male sexual services, and transactional sex where women trade sex from men is a complex social phenomenon firmly grounded in social, economic, political, and sexual relations.

Pederson, Anna C., Madeline R. Stenersen, and Sara K. Bridges. 2019. ‘Toward Affirming Therapy: What Sex Workers Want and Need From Mental Health Providers’. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, August, 0022167819867767. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022167819867767.
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Within the field of psychology, the development of a culture of competency both in training programs and, more specifically, related to working with historically underrepresented and underserved populations has been making significant progress. One group who has been neglected, however, consists of individuals who consensually work in the commercial sex trade industry (i.e., sex workers). The current Delphi study begins to address this gap. Using responses from eight sex workers to explore factors affecting disclosure of occupation to therapists, barriers and facilitators to receiving mental health care, and areas for educational growth among mental health professionals, the results reveal participants’ preference for therapists who take an affirming approach regarding their occupation (e.g., respecting the hard work, skill, and emotional labor) and do not assume that they are in therapy because of their work. Broadly, this article highlights the knowledge, skills, and attitudes sex workers believe comprise critical areas of competency for therapists working with this often-stigmatized population. Ultimately, these results can be used to advance competent, just, and effective therapy with this population.

Hammond, Natalie, and Jenny van Hooff. 2019. ‘“This Is Me, This Is What I Am, I Am a Man”: The Masculinities of Men Who Pay for Sex with Women’. The Journal of Sex Research 0 (0): 1–14. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2019.1644485.
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This paper draws on theories of masculinity to explore men’s motivations for beginning and continuing to pay for sex with women. Based on in-depth interviews with 35 male clients of female sex workers in the UK during 2007/2008, our findings suggest that a desire to pay for sex is often entrenched in notions of hegemonic masculinity such as sex as a drive, or need for a variety of experiences and partners and is rationalized as an economic exchange. Yet, the men interviewed also expressed a need for intimacy, female friendship and conversation in a controlled environment, which challenged dominant masculine ideals. For participants, there was often an overlap between various motivational factors, and accounts were complicated by the anxieties and disappointments the men expressed about their non-commercial relationships and the intimacy and emotion frequently attached to encounters with sex workers. The pathologization of men who engage with paid sexual services fails to account for participants’ complex, diverse motivations, which should be understood in the context of other relationships and gender relations rather than as a distinct type of interaction. We find that the theory of hegemonic masculinity provides a useful but partial account of the range of behaviors and characteristics expressed in paid-for sex, which participants use to negotiate the expectations, ambivalences and disappointments of everyday life and relationships.

Bettio, Francesca, Marina Della Giusta, and Maria Laura Di Tommaso. 2017. ‘Sex Work and Trafficking: Moving beyond Dichotomies’. Feminist Economics 23 (3): 1–22. https://doi.org/10.1080/13545701.2017.1330547.
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This contribution examines how feminist economists have conceptualized sex work and trafficking through the lens of agency and stigma. The ongoing debate about legalization has focused on sex workers’ agency and choice, and on the role of stigma in shaping the supply of and demand for sex work. Building on the analysis advanced by contributions to this special issue, this study contends that theoretical and policy debates about sex work are dominated by false dichotomies of agency and stigma. It argues that the relationship between stigma and agency operates along a continuum of contractual arrangements that underpins a high degree of segmentation in the industry. The higher the stigma, the lower tends to be the agency. Current policies toward sex work therefore need reconsideration – especially mounting support for criminalization of clients, which, by increasing stigma, is likely to detract from the agency and the well-being of sex workers, however unintentionally.