ISA Sociology of Migration meeting From Emigration to Immigration Countries in Europe: New Patterns, Cerisy La Salle, Normandy, June 2005.
When migrants who sell sex are considered, love is rarely mentioned. Debates on "prostitution" and "trafficking" focus narrowly on whether migrants knew they would be selling sex and whether they were coerced or forced to do it. Hegemonic meanings of these terms define the interconnections between sex, intimacy and mobility as inherently and exclusively exploitative, and deny the emotional ambivalence shaping the relations involved. These discursive practices play a key role in the construction of Europe (or the West) as a space of emotional and civic superiority and in enforcing cripplingly restrictive migration policies. However, many migrations begin with romance, infatuation or "real love", which can be powerful and necessary motivators for assuming the risks involved in trying to get a better life. The fact that some of these relationships sour later on, or that one (or both) of the people had exploitative plans, does not diminish the importance of the original feeling in the imagination and enactment of migration. In fact, only the affective dimension can explain many migrations.
This panel will investigate migrations that involve love as well as sex
and money: for a boy or girlfriend, for a tourist, for a pimp or
trafficker, for a (future) husband or wife, for a parent, for a child.
Researchers interested in sex tourism and "mail-order" marriages are
welcome, as are those whose work does not specifically address Europe
and those whose work addresses lesbian, gay and transgender subjects.
Please send a 250-word abstract by 1 September 2004 to both organisers:
Dr Laura Mª Agustín
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