Sex and borders : gender, national identity, and prostitution policy in Thailand /
Leslie Ann Jeffrey.
Vancouver : UBC Press, c2002.
xxviii, 195 p. ; 24 cm.
More Details
Vancouver : UBC Press, c2002.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Leslie Ann Jeffrey teaches political science in the Department of History and Politics, University of New Brunswick, Saint John campus.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2003-01-01:
Jeffrey (political science, Univ. of New Brunswick, St. John) places the question of prostitution in an international context whereby "the nation [Thailand] is gendered female under the direction of the modernized, globalized [Western] masculine state." In this sense, gender and national identity become intertwined, leaving the question of prostitution dictated not by its own inherent value, but rather as defined by the parameters of international politics, in particular, Western political hegemony. This goes back at least to the colonial period, when European nations assumed a controlling and therefore masculine role. Later, it was reinforced during the war in Vietnam when so many US GIs spent R&R time in Thailand. More subtly, Thai feminists and social activists have been limited in their ability to deal with prostitution because women are seen as symbols of the country. Hence, the purity of women's sexuality is the purity of the nation, its defilement the defilement of the nation. In addition, as masculinity becomes modernized, femininity becomes increasingly traditional. Because Thai leaders respond to international (i.e., masculine) pressure, they are less able to deal with women in general and prostitute women in particular. Upper-division undergraduates and above. A. Wittenborn San Diego State University
Review Quotes
This is an important and original study of gendered processes in postcolonial nationalisms and nation-building. Clearly and accessibly written, it will be of substantial interest to scholars and teachers of postcolonial history, anthropology, public policy, and feminist studies.-- Mary Beth Mills, author of Thai Women in the Global Labor Force: Consuming Desires, Contested Selves An excellent book. I read it with great enjoyment. It is full of interesting details and the argument is well constructed. For feminists interested in the issues of prostitution, and those studying Southeast Asia, this book will provide a substantial and well-researched addition. It will become a key reference within this area of scholarship.-- Marilyn Porter, co-editor of Feminists Doing Development: A Practical Critique A timely, interesting and well-documented study of the impact of Western (neo) imperialism on the construction of different prostitution policies (and on the lives of real prostitute women).-- Meredith Ralston, Mount Saint Vincent University, Atlantis, Volume 28.1
This item was reviewed in:
Reference & Research Book News, August 2002
Choice, January 2003
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Main Description
Prostitution in Thailand has been the subject of media sensationalism for decades. Bangkok#146;s brothels have become international icons of "third world" women#146;s exploitation in the global sex trade. Recently, however, sex workers have begun to demand not pity, but rights as workers in the global economy. This book explores how Thai national identity in such an economy is linked to prostitution and gender. Jeffrey asserts that certain images of "The Prostitute" have silenced discourses of prostitution as work, while fostering the idea of the peasant woman as the embodiment of national culture. This idea, coupled with a will to shape the modern state through the behaviour of middle-class men, has been a main concern of Thai prostitution policy. Gender, Jeffrey argues, has become the mechanism through which states respond to the contradictory pressures of globalization and nation-building. Sex and Bordersis essential reading for those interested in gender studies, Southeast Asian studies, and the politics of prostitution.
Table of Contents
Acronymsp. vi
Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Introductionp. viii
Gender, Prostitution, and the "Standards of Civilization"p. 3
Peasants, Prostitutes, and the Body Politic: Prostitution as Cultural Decline and Political Resistance in the 1960s and 1970sp. 29
Elite Women, the Reconstruction of National Identity, and the Prostitution Problemp. 51
Women's Groups and the Prostitution Question: Prostitution Law under Premocracyp. 74
The Politics of Prostitution and the "New Man": The 1996 Prostitution Law, International Image, and Middle-Class Masculinityp. 96
The Middle Class and the Material Girl: The 1996 Prostitution Law and the Disciplining of Peasant Womenp. 118
The Politics of Prostitution: Gender, Class, and Nationp. 143
Appendixp. 154
Notesp. 155
Bibliographyp. 181
Indexp. 191
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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