Victims of the Social Temperament: Prostitution, Migration and the Traffic in Women from Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union, 1885-1935
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CitationHetherington, Philippa Lesley. 2014. Victims of the Social Temperament: Prostitution, Migration and the Traffic in Women from Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union, 1885-1935. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
AbstractThe early twentieth century was the apogee of what historians have come to call a `white slavery' panic, a period in which long term anxieties about the social dangers and moral ambiguities of sex work metamorphosed into an intense philanthropic, public and state focus on forced migration for the purposes of prostitution. This dissertation investigates the origins of `the traffic in women' as a social problem in imperial Russian and Soviet law and society, connecting it to emergent regimes of transnational biopolitics at the fin-de-siècle and through the interwar years. This period was one in which state and social understandings of the subject's freedom, to move across borders or to consent to sex, were being reconceptualized. I argue that the traffic in women, as a legal category and cultural discourse, was key to this process of reconceptualization, as it became a heuristic for making sense of the entanglement of legality, clandestinity, consent and coercion operational in cross border migration, particularly that which involved sex work, in an age of rapid globalization. Consequently, this dissertation helps us to understand how certain conceptions of gendered and sexualized bodies have become central to questions of state security and sovereignty.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:12274287
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