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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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Boditarian Inscriptions

Boditarian Inscriptions

(p.74) Four Boditarian Inscriptions
Mobile Orientations

Nicola Mai

University of Chicago Press

Chapters 3 and 4 explore the engagement of young male migrants, including minors, in multiple and itinerant forms of mobility. Their priorities and needs, as well as their understandings of their own agency, are compared with those informing sexual-humanitarian interventions. Chapter 4 presents more agentic forms of “minor” mobility, characterized by the “boditarian”—that is, embodied, tacit, and underprivileged—experiences of ownership of the commodified and fluidified terms of late-modern subjectivity among young Romanian men selling sex in Amsterdam. By distinguishing the more emancipatory minor mobility from errance, the author attempts to avoid the pathologization and victimization that characterize hegemonic analyses of child and youth migration while acknowledging the potential and specific elements of vulnerability that can emerge. The chapter shows that for many young men, engaging in sex work means getting involved in different kinds of relationships that offer different degrees of support, dependence, and autonomy, in both psychological and economic terms. The degree of agency characterizing their mobile orientations depends on whether they are able to make sense of their emotional lives and migration trajectories with the material, discursive, and psychological resources available to them.

Keywords:   male sex work, The Netherlands, Romania, agency, migration, vulnerability, masculinity, homosexuality

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