Reconfiguring power, identity and resistance: An analysis of consciousness in sex workers
AuthorMonthony, Jessica E.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractPrevious feminist literature has theorized sex work as either the reproduction of dominance of women or as a transgressive medium through which female sexuality may be liberated from oppressive structures of power. These models enforce a repressive hypothesis of power and conclude that women are either existing in a false state of consciousness leading them to collude with power, or that there exists an intact female consciousness which may be liberated through the creation of alternative sexual discourses. In contrast to these incomplete analyses, my work builds upon Foucaults' writings on power as productive of consciousness, and Judith Butler's work on identity as performative. The experiences of sex workers which I draw upon illustrate the ambiguous co-existance within subjects of both resistance to, and dependency upon, power. By theorizing sex work as a conscious performance of gender, I analyze how sex workers become conscious of, enact resistance to, and remain dependent upon, the construction of gender.
Degree ProgramGraduate College