The social organisation of sex work in Taiwan

Authored by: Mei-Hua Chen

Routledge Handbook of East Asian Gender Studies

Print publication date:  December  2019
Online publication date:  November  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138959897
eBook ISBN: 9781315660523
Adobe ISBN:


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Based on empirical studies on the sex industry in Taiwan, this chapter aims to theorise the social dimensions of sex work to challenge the widely accepted ‘male sexual needs’ discourse, and go further to analyse the ways in which performing sexual services is constructed on the intersection of gender, class, ethnicity and global economic hierarchy. The chapter will start by analysing how the sex industry links to gendered institutions such as law, family and the labour market. It then analyses how sex workers are expected to perform heterosexual femininity and sexual labour in the sex industry. As transnational migration has given rise to transnational commercial sex since the late 1990s in Taiwan, the final section will examine how the global economic hierarchy serves to provide a sexual labour force for the sex industry in Taiwan.

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