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Brokered Subjects: Sex, Trafficking, and the Politics of Freedom (Paperback)
  • Brokered Subjects: Sex, Trafficking, and the Politics of Freedom (Paperback)
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Brokered Subjects: Sex, Trafficking, and the Politics of Freedom (Paperback)

(author)
£22.50
Paperback 304 Pages / Published: 06/08/2018
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Our shared concern for the victims of sex trafficking represents a rare spot of common ground in contemporary political discourse. Galvanized by impassioned accounts of the abduction and forced labor of women and girls, such normally divergent groups as evangelical Christians, secular feminists, aid workers, and corporate scions have all rallied behind anti-trafficking initiatives and legislation. But just how well do these sweeping concerns and legal efforts mesh with the lived realities of the sex trade, and where exactly did the modern conception of sex trafficking originate? In answering these questions, Brokered Subjects digs into the accepted narratives of sex trafficking to reveal the troubling assumptions which have shaped both right and left-wing agendas around sexual violence. Drawing upon years of in-depth field work, Elizabeth Bernstein sheds light not only on trafficking but on the broader structures that meld the ostensible pursuit of liberation with contemporary techniques of power. Rather than any meaningful commitment to the safety of sex workers, Bernstein argues, what lies behind our current vision of trafficking victims is a transnational mix of putatively humanitarian militaristic interventions, feel-good capitalism, and what she terms carceral feminism: a feminism compatible with police batons.

Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226573779
Number of pages: 304
Dimensions: 229 x 152 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"Brokered Subjects reveals how central questions of sexuality and gender are to new forms of neoliberal governance and racial power in national and transnational politics. Bernstein reveals why discourses of anti-trafficking campaigns have become ubiquitous across left- and right-wing politics. She shows with powerful ethnographic research and evidence how anti-trafficking brings together a range of political actors who have the power to define sexuality, morality, and what women--especially poor ones--need to do with their bodies. This is important reading for activists, policy makers, NGOs, and researchers."--Inderpal Grewal, Yale University
"My enthusiasm for this thoughtful and masterful ethnographic analysis of trafficking discourse is unqualified. Bernstein offers a provocative challenge in tracing the work that decades of anti-trafficking interventions have been doing--from facilitating a billion-dollar industry of good intentions reinforced by a white savior industrial complex, to reinforcing sexual, cultural, and racial stereotypes, as well as emboldening a new sexual politics that has securitized rather than enabled the freedom of disenfranchised constituencies. Brokered Subjects is a bold and timely book that is bound to compel a rethinking of contemporary understandings of gender progress and freedom."--Ratna Kapur, Queen Mary University of London

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