chapter  5
23 Pages

Performing migration

Lisa Law, in her work on Southeast Asian sex workers, writes pointedly about her difficulties in mediating the competing discourses on prostitution. She explains that “my well-rehearsed arguments about the political economy of prostitution became an increasingly abstract construction of academic and activist discourses and . . . played a rather ambivalent role in my understanding of the complex subjectivities of the women that I knew” (Law 2000: 62). Later, she details that her “resistance to the simplicity of modes of theorizing on prostitution can also be understood as a response to [her] own failed attempts at constructing a coherent prostitute ‘subject’” (Law 2000: 62). The difficulties Law encountered in her work encapsulates many of the primary issues confronting feminist work specifically, and social theoretical work in general, namely questions of embodied subjectivity. More pointedly, her concerns speak to the intersections of power/knowledge, agency, and the body.