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The 'f'oreign prostitute' in contemporary Italy: Gender, sexuality and migration in policy and practice.

Crowhurst, Isabel (2007) The 'f'oreign prostitute' in contemporary Italy: Gender, sexuality and migration in policy and practice. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis examines discourses, policies and practices underpinning the response to, and governance of, prostitution-related migrations of women in contemporary Italy. It analyzes how Italian socio-political factors, such as national identity construction and political opportunism, and normative values and cultural practices (including historical stigmatization of prostitutes, racialization of the 'ethnic Other' and inferiorization of women) contribute to different understandings of, and responses to, the new presence of migrant women operating in the sex industry in Italy. The study adopts a feminist qualitative research methodology and is primarily based on in-depth interviews and participant observation with a number of diverse third sector organizations that operate in the provision of support services to migrant women in the Italian sex industry, as well as on the investigation of relevant documentary sources. Taking as one of its focal points the analysis of the legal measure that since 1998 has regulated the provision of assistance to women trafficked for sexual purposes, the thesis explores the strategies enacted by the bodies that are in charge of implementing such regulation and the motivations informing them. Furthermore, the complexity and often controversial meanings attached to the phenomenon of 'foreign prostitution' - as it is often described in both public and legal discourse - is explored in relation to discourses invoked in debates initiated in 2002 over the change of the current legislation regulating prostitution in the country. The analysis of these issues shows how dominant historical prejudices against prostitutes and migrants have coalesced in the construction of the image of 'foreign prostitutes' who are subjected to a variety of forms of discipline on the basis of gendered, racialized and sexualized identities ascribed to them. The production and reproduction of socially constructed representations of migrant women who operate in the sex industry in Italy and the political and ideological forces underlying such processes are issues that have received little attention in the literature. In this sense, it is hoped that this research will fill a gap in the existing sociological literature, and allow for a more comprehensive understanding of these issues.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sociology, Public and Social Welfare
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses

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