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Intimacy, technoscience and the city: regulating "prostitution" in Dakar, 1946-2010

Poleykett, Branwyn (2012) Intimacy, technoscience and the city: regulating "prostitution" in Dakar, 1946-2010. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Senegal is one of the very few former French colonies that explicitly pursued the sanitary regulation of prostitution after independence; in Senegal, the legal status of sex work turns on a distinction between registered “avowed” prostitutes, and non-registered, unofficial prostitutes – the clandestines. Based on fifteen months ethnographic study in two clinics this thesis traces the changes that have taken place in the regulation of commercial intimacy in Dakar following the integration of an experimental regime at the state clinic and the creation of the identity “clandestine” by non-governmental organizations. Despite the enormous changes that have taken place over the course of the twentieth century, colonial sanitary regulation remains a governing “biopolitical paradigm” (Epstein, 2007), leaving its traces in the therapeutic, experimental, and affective lives of the clinics. In this thesis I examine how racial, gender, and class difference is produced in regulation through (1) the racial politics of colonial policy; (2) enactments of social and individual bodies at the Enda mobile clinic; (3) how difference is written into the onto-epistemologies of molecular biology; (4) how attempts to understand and accommodate difference are attempted through bioethics and the material effects of ethical practice. I do this by paying close attention to the ethnomethods of the professionals I study and to the local historical geographies of clinical practice. Throughout this thesis I think about the feminist biopolitics that might be capable of responding to and theorizing the surprising social life of the clinics.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2012 Branwyn Poleykett
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Sets: Departments > Gender Institute

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