chapter  3
16 Pages

The associations of black queer life: reading and seeing the nineteen-eighties

ByRODERICK A. FERGUSON

This chapter examines the epistemic frameworks that have facilitated the association of sexual freedom, in turn characterized as autonomy, with liberal, and later neoliberal, economic imaginaries. The case of sex work offers a way into the regulatory dimension of neoliberal ideals of sexual freedom, it shows how sexual freedom may lead to the conception of autonomy as self-ownership in contradictory ways. For instance, the contempt shown towards sex workers demands for the decriminalization of commercial sex is based on an imaginary, well-established opposition between sexual desire and economic trade. The entanglement of processes of sexualization and racialization in processes of border building highlights the case of different kinds of sex work, notably sex work prosecution under trafficking paradigm and sex tourism, in manifold ways. The objectified body of labour, the racialized body that carries the legacies of colonialism and the gendered body all define self-ownership just as self-ownership affects the body of sexuality.