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2014 - American Sociological Association Annual Meeting Pages: unavailable || Words: 11688 words || 
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1. Vijayakumar, Gowri. "Is Sex Work Sex or is Sex Work Work? Analyzing Sex Worker Identity" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Hilton San Francisco Union Square and Parc 55 Wyndham San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, Aug 15, 2014 Online <PDF>. 2019-09-23 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p726018_index.html>
Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: This paper investigates the ways in which gendered relationships to sex as work shape the possibilities for a “sex worker” identity among poor and working-class sex workers in Bangalore, India. To what extent can people who do sex work coalesce around a shared “sex worker” identity, and what are the limits to this coalition? Using interviews with male, female, and transgender members of a sex worker union, I show that the answer depends on gender, sexuality, and labor relations. Men, women, and transgender women articulate distinct relationships to “sex worker” identity because they experience sex work in distinct ways, falling on a spectrum from sex work as an extension of sex to sex work as an extension of work. For men, selling sex is intertwined with networks of unpaid sex pursued for pleasure, while for women and transgenders, sex work begins as a source of income, either to maintain a family income or to secure membership in the hijra community. For none of the groups does sex work itself emerge as a primary identity; instead, my interviewees most commonly identified as poor women workers, transgender women, or men who like to “do sex,” respectively. Nevertheless, shared work experiences allowed for solidarity—addressing shared stigma, violence and exploitation on the job, and the risks of disclosure. My analysis confirms feminist scholarship in suggesting that movements built on sex work as a form of gendered labor, rather than a unique personal identity, resonate with poor sex workers’ own experiences of work.

2018 - ICA's 68th Annual Conference Pages: unavailable || Words: unavailable || 
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2. Lengel, Lara. "A Critical Feminist Study of Sex Trafficking and Sex Tourism in Costa Rica: How Civil Society Organisations Amplify or Misrepresent Voices of Sex Workers" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ICA's 68th Annual Conference, Hilton Prague, Prague, Czech Republic, May 22, 2018 Online <APPLICATION/PDF>. 2019-09-23 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1364343_index.html>
Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: This critical ethnography and feminist political economy work in progress (as field research will occur in Spring 2018) analyses secular civil society organizations (CSOs) and faith-based organisations (FBOs) and their role combatting sex trafficking in Costa Rica. The project analyses patriarchal capitalist structures of sex tourism, inequalities of racialised and classed sexuality, and commodification of women’s bodies as international currency in post-colonial socio-political contexts. Complex negotiations between FBOs and men who pay for sex in Costa Rica lead to intersecting research foci of masculine identity, post-colonial politics, whiteness, and power. The project analyses complex connections of risk perception surrounding sex tourism in Costa Rica and men’s participation in sex tourism in this nation. As a unique project that straddles humanistic and social scientific research, the project has wide implications for increasingly important areas in scholarship and policy-making, most notably sex trafficking of women and minor children.

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