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Title: (Un)doing occupational citizenship : sex workers' experiences of everyday violence and resistance in Lima, Peru
Author: Grenfell, P.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7659 2276
Awarding Body: London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
Current Institution: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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Sex workers face extensive violence and poor access to justice, at the intersections of criminalisation, multiple stigmas and inequalities. This topic has received little attention in Peru, where sex work is legal within licensed venues but where the majority of people work in the legally ambiguous space of "clandestine" prostitution-subject to municipal by-laws and police repression. Here I present analyses generated via a participatory qualitative study, conducted collaboratively with Peruvian sex-worker, gay and transgender rights activists, which explored everyday violence and resistance in the lives of people who sell sex in central Lima. I argue that publicised police and serenazgo (citizen-safety) raids not only pose direct threats of violence, extortion, arrest and disclosure to sex workers, but they also work to perform 'moral, safe and healthy' spaces for morally-conforming citizens while casting sex workers as 'out-of-place' in and beyond these spaces. Yet sex workers rework these spaces, through evasion, discretion, and social, economic and affective relations, to protect their income and themselves, in a broader landscape of physical and economic insecurity. At times they make overt claims to occupy and generate income through these spaces unconditionally-acts of occupational citizenship that constitute them as citizens despite their not being treated as such by the state. Yet these acts are not without risks of further violence and arrest, and they are complicated both by the potential for dominant institutions (e.g. public health, media) to amplify or mute their claims, and by the workings of stigma management. Participants' tendency to emphasise particular aspects of their identities-as respectable citizens and responsible workers- resisted certain normative constructions of sex work(ers), gender, sexuality, class and race, but reproduced others, thus recasting but not necessarily contesting boundaries between in-place citizens and out-of-place others. I discuss implications for sex work policy, public health practice, and collective action.
Supervisor: Marston, C. Sponsor: Medical Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral