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Title: Queering sex tourism : the geographies of gay, transgender and female sex tourism in South-East Asia in the time of HIV
Author: Gallagher, R. M.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2008
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HIV prevention policies and research on sex tourism in South-East Asia has focused predominantly upon female sex workers catering for heterosexual male tourists. However, sex tourists can no longer be presumed to be solely male and heterosexual, nor sex workers. This thesis argues that theoretical and policy frameworks for sex tourism need to be ‘queered’ and examines the burgeoning gay, transgender and female markets in the region. Moreover, it is not only sex workers and tourists that are becoming increasingly heterogeneous, but also sexual-economic exchanges, with the growth of ‘indirect’ sex work resulting in more diverse forms of monetary exchange, interaction and places of encounter. This project is founded upon twelve months of fieldwork, over the course of three years, in Phuket, Thailand and Bali, Indonesia. My research comprised a multi-method ethnographic approach, combining participant observation, interviews, focus groups and sexual diaries. I explore the imaginative, embodied and micro-geographies involved in gay, transgender and female sex tourism in these two resorts. The thesis aims to deconstruct, demystify and ‘queer’ sex tourism, and argues for a more holistic definition of the phenomenon, which incorporates sex workers and tourists of all genders and sexualities. Such a framework disrupts understandings of sex tourism primarily as an expression of patriarchy. Throughout, I stress the significance of place as a setting for the negotiation of sexual identity and behaviour, which leads me to reflect upon its significance for understanding the practices by which HIV is transmitted. Hence I conclude by discussing the utility of place-based approaches in HIV prevention and assert that interventions must address the complex interaction between individual risk, the environment and structures of vulnerability at a range of spatial scales.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available