Ingenious Citizenship: Recrafting Democracy for Social Change
Global Sex Workers, Calculated Abjection, and Appropriating Economic Citizenship
Chapter 3 advances a reading of global sex work as an inventive appropriation of liberal economic citizenship that utilizes calculated abjection of female bodies to procure a living wage in the shadows of capital. It first identifies a postindustrial formation of “antitrafficking assemblages” that campaigns against prostitution in reproducing the order of global capitalism. Given that this antitrafficking alliance has not made sex work disappear but rather driven it into clandestine indoor venues and online commercial sex markets, what results is not the elimination of sexual abjection but rather a fluid, neoliberal mode of economic abjection. The chapter then analyzes how global sex workers devise strategies that reuse this neoliberal abjection to appropriate economic inclusion. It argues that these practices of calculated abjection signal lessons to transform sex worker rights movements into a fluid constellation of commodity activism that repositions sex workers as simultaneously commodities, entrepreneurs, and consumers.