Montag, 4. Mai 2015

You catch more flies with honey: Violence and decision-making among American male sex workers

Lecture by Prof. Sharon Oselin, University of California, Riverside

Violence has become one of the most identifiable hallmarks of masculinity, a defining characteristics especially prominent among men in disadvantaged contexts. Physical alacrity offers them an opportunity to attain various types of capital. However, not all subscribe to this practice, even when it is woven into the fabric of street life that surrounds them. By drawing on 19 interviews with men involved in street-level sex work in a large American city, I examine their decision-making regarding willingness to engage in physical altercations. This analysis reveals that the social, legal and economic conditions of outdoor sex work substantially inform decisions to become embroiled in combative exchanges. Their reluctance to fight implies they adhere to an alternative form of manhood – a pacifist masculinity. This article contributes to a better understanding of male-male violence in high-risk environments, examines the prominent factors that undergird decisions to assault others, and explores how such actions challenge hegemonic masculinity.