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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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Challenging Sexual Humanitarianism

Challenging Sexual Humanitarianism

(p.188) Conclusion Challenging Sexual Humanitarianism
Mobile Orientations

Nicola Mai

University of Chicago Press

How does the theorization of subjectivity and agency as embedded in mobile orientations help us to understand the nexus between migration, sex work, agency, and exploitation? The conclusion offers a final appraisal of the way migrants working in the sex industry both reproduce and challenge sexual-humanitarian selfrepresentations as they try to fulfill their mobile orientations. At the same time, the chapter analyzes how the “global sentimentality” produced by sexual humanitarianism around the issues of trafficking and “modern slavery” becomes complicit with neoliberal politics. The chapter also reflects on the broader social implications of these dynamics for the sustainability of the global democratic polity. It highlights the strategic role of sexual humanitarianism and the forms of affective global governance it engenders in the neoliberalization of everyday life and the deterioration of the democratic polity in three main ways: by promoting neo-abolitionist affective rhetoric over factual evidence; by obfuscating the inequalities engendered by neoliberalism and protecting those responsible for the precarization of global labor markets from facing their responsibility; and by preventing people from the Global North from acknowledging their own increased exploitability and precariousness in neoliberal times.

Keywords:   migration, sex work, neoliberalism, agency, Sexual Humanitarianism, democracy, post truth

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