Mobile Bodies Practicing Cell Phone-Based Transactional Sex  in Gujarat, India Mitali Thakor Self, Selves, & Sexualities C...
Overview <ul><ul><li>Introduction  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Methods  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Results: </li></ul></ul>...
Introduction  How do cell phones offer new ways of conceptualizing ‘transactional sex’ distinct from current definitions o...
Introduction  Before cell phones,  I used to have to wait to pick up customers on the street corner by the train station. ...
 
Methods <ul><ul><li>Locations in Gujarat:  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Vikas Jyot (Baroda) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul>...
Last day at Vikas Jyot (Baroda)
Methodologies <ul><ul><li>Loca -lization  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Subterranean methods  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Why ...
Discussion of Results <ul><ul><li>Transactional sex  </li></ul></ul>Methods Results Conclusions Introduction <ul><ul><li>E...
Sex work  Overwhelmingly defined by dual discourses: Methods Results Conclusions Introduction Spectacle of Trafficking Spe...
Brothel-based sex work in Kolkata, India
Conflating disease and state control (Kolkata AIDS rally)
Transactional Sex Diversity of practices & purposes Moving away from victimizing discourses
Mobility <ul><ul><li>Cell phones: transformative global technologies </li></ul></ul>Methods Results Conclusions Introducti...
Mobility
Entrepreneurship <ul><ul><li>Social mobility: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Performing class & modernity </li></ul></ul><...
Conclusions <ul><ul><li>New forms of subjectivity and knowledge-production </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Elastic notions ...
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Mobile Bodies

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My presentation, "Mobile Bodies: Practicing Cell Phone-Based Transactional Sex in Gujarat, India," from the Sexuality Conference in Dublin (March 19-20, 2010).
The research for this project was conducted as part of my Anthropology honors thesis as an undergraduate at Stanford.

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Mobile Bodies

  1. 1. Mobile Bodies Practicing Cell Phone-Based Transactional Sex in Gujarat, India Mitali Thakor Self, Selves, & Sexualities Conference Dublin, Ireland March 20, 2010
  2. 2. Overview <ul><ul><li>Introduction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Methods </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Results: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Transactional Sex </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mobility </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Entrepreneurship? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conclusions </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Introduction How do cell phones offer new ways of conceptualizing ‘transactional sex’ distinct from current definitions of sex work dictated by the HIV/AIDS and sex trafficking discourse? What role do cell phones play in the day-to-day lived experiences of women doing transactional sex in a ‘modern’ Indian state? Methods Results Conclusions Introduction
  4. 4. Introduction Before cell phones, I used to have to wait to pick up customers on the street corner by the train station. It was risky, because the police could easily catch you and all the people passing by would see you there every few days and figure out who you were. Now my life is much easier—I give customers my cell number, they ring me up when they want to meet, and then they come to my house or we meet at a hotel… Nobody’s going to bother a woman talking on her phone in public. There’s nothing wrong with that. “ ” -- Radha, 28 year-old woman, Baroda Methods Results Conclusions Introduction
  5. 6. Methods <ul><ul><li>Locations in Gujarat: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Vikas Jyot (Baroda) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Jyoti Sangh (Ahmedabad) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interviews: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>24 women (18-60) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Semi-structured </li></ul></ul></ul>Methods Results Conclusions Introduction
  6. 7. Last day at Vikas Jyot (Baroda)
  7. 8. Methodologies <ul><ul><li>Loca -lization  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Subterranean methods  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Why are feminist methodologies necessary? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Situating the researcher: what knowledge will be obtained? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Stigmatized field: must equally privilege direct info + the unspoken </li></ul></ul></ul>Methods Results Conclusions Introduction
  8. 9. Discussion of Results <ul><ul><li>Transactional sex </li></ul></ul>Methods Results Conclusions Introduction <ul><ul><li>Entrepreneurship? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Performing class </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Self-invention </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mobility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Spatial & social </li></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 10. Sex work Overwhelmingly defined by dual discourses: Methods Results Conclusions Introduction Spectacle of Trafficking Specter of AIDS &
  10. 11. Brothel-based sex work in Kolkata, India
  11. 12. Conflating disease and state control (Kolkata AIDS rally)
  12. 13. Transactional Sex Diversity of practices & purposes Moving away from victimizing discourses
  13. 14. Mobility <ul><ul><li>Cell phones: transformative global technologies </li></ul></ul>Methods Results Conclusions Introduction <ul><ul><li>Spatial mobility: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Speech & stance </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Performance theories </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Dissemblance </li></ul></ul></ul>
  14. 15. Mobility
  15. 16. Entrepreneurship <ul><ul><li>Social mobility: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Performing class & modernity </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sex workers as entrepreneurs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Autonomy afforded by cell phone use </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Peer educators & brokers </li></ul></ul></ul>Methods Results Conclusions Introduction
  16. 17. Conclusions <ul><ul><li>New forms of subjectivity and knowledge-production </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Elastic notions of transactional sex </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Performing entrepreneurship & modernity </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Paradox of Gujarat: Neoliberal state & Hindutva movements </li></ul></ul>Methods Results Conclusions Introduction
  17. 18. Thank you!

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