Street Sex Workers' Discourse
Realizing Material Change Through Agential Choice
Routledge – 2013 – 240 pages
Incorporating the voices and insights of street sex workers through personal interviews, this monograph argues that the material conditions of many street workers — the physical environments they live in and their effects on the workers’ bodies, identities, and spirits — are represented, reproduced, and entrenched in the language surrounding their work. As an ethnographic case study of a local system that can be extrapolated to other subcultures and the construction of identities, this book disrupts some of the more prevalent academic and lay understandings about street prostitution by providing a thorough analysis of the material conditions surrounding street work and their connection to discourse. McCracken offers an explanation of how constructions can be made differently in order to achieve representations that are generated by the marginalized populations themselves, while placing responsibility for this marginalization on the society in which these people live.
"The book’s primary strength lies in its respectful, careful consideration of perspectives gleaned from both women involved in street-based sex work as well as those with professional or activist investment in the issue. There is a serious dearth, in the sex work research literature, of critical inquiry into criminal justice and social services professionals’ beliefs and practices, and McCracken’s book is an important first step toward further exploration of this neglected topic."
Susan Dewey, Assistant Professor of Gender & Women’s Studies, University of Wyoming, in Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Books
1. Quotidian Rhetoric Creates Meaning Through Collage 2. Who is the Victim: The Neighborhood or the Woman? 3. Is She a Criminal, a Victim, or a Victim of the Criminal Justice System? 4. "An Opportunity to Change": Responsibility and Choice 5. Systemic Violence Perpetuates Victim Status 6. Releasing Agential Choice from Cages of Oppression. Appendix A: Participants. Appendix B: Research Process and Layers of Data. Appendix C: Number of Times Terms Included in Newspaper and Participant Interviews Corpora.
Jill McCracken is an Assistant Professor at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.