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Mobile OrientationsAn Intimate Autoethnography of Migration, Sex Work, and Humanitarian Borders$
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Nicola Mai

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226584959

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226585147.001.0001

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Engaging Albanian (and Romanian) Masculinities

Engaging Albanian (and Romanian) Masculinities

(p.33) Two Engaging Albanian (and Romanian) Masculinities
Mobile Orientations

Nicola Mai

University of Chicago Press

Chapter 2 presents the results of intersubjective and autoethnographic research with Albanian (and Romanian) male sex workers in Italy and Greece in the late 1990s and early 2000s. It analyzes the discourses and practices through which young migrant men both reproduced and challenged the heteronormative and homophobic way in which the relation between masculinities and sexual conduct was negotiated at home. By selfrepresenting as straight and ‘only active’ young men who are ‘fucking queers’ in order to respond to ‘economic necessity’ young Albanian and Romanian migrants abide, publicly, by heteronormative canons of masculinity while engaging in sex work with other men and affording more affluent and individualized lifestyles. The chapter shows how the author used irony and flirting as strategic intersubjective, relational, and affective strategies to challenge normative selfrepresentations. It also shows that young people’s engagement in migration and sex work resulted from the agencing decisions they made in relation to moral orientations – socio-cultural alignments of models of personhood, mobilities and objects – that emerged in relation to a macro-historical event: the further commodification and individualization in late-modern, neoliberal and postindustrial times of the traditions, institutions, livelihoods, and authorities that had already been fluidified by modernisation.

Keywords:   migration, decision, postcommunism, postindustrialism, male sex work, commodification, agency, masculinity, homophobia

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