China, Sex, and Prostitution

China, Sex, and Prostitution

China, Sex, and Prostitution

China, Sex, and Prostitution

Synopsis

China, Sex and Prostitution is a topical and important critique of recent scholarship in China studies concerning sexuality, prostitution and policing. Jeffrey's arguments are constructed in the form of detailed analysis of a wide range of primary texts, including documents, press reports, police report, and policy and legal pronouncements, and secondary literature in both English and Chinese. The work engages with some key debates in the fields of cultural and gender studies and will be welcomed by scholars in these areas as well as by China specialists, sociologists and anthropologists.

Excerpt

Changing institutional categories and academic legitimacy

The ins and outs of the poststructuralist academe

One way of provisionalizing the knowledge we now choose to produce and circulate about China is to demonstrate that the emergence of popular objects of intellectual inquiry such as sexuality and gender is intrinsically related to the development of the new humanities. Writing in 1987, Arnold Davidson begins an article entitled 'Sex and the emergence of sexuality' with the following words:

Some years ago a collection of historical and philosophical essays on sex was advertised under the slogan: Philosophers are interested in sex again. Since that time the history of sexuality has become an almost exceptional topic, occasioning as many books and articles as anyone would ever care to read.

(Davidson 1987:16)

In '“Gender” for a Marxist dictionary: the sexual politics of a word', Donna Haraway (1991:136) similarly notes that the term 'gender' only truly entered the academic lexicon in the 1970s. By monitoring the occurrence of keyword entries under gender in us social science research over a 20-year period, Haraway discovered that the number of entries in sociological work increased from none at all between 1966 and 1970 to 724 between 1981 and 1985. and the number of entries in psychological work for the same periods increased from 50 to 1,326.

The current pervasiveness of the term 'gender' attests to the powerful influence of the second-wave feminist movement and the subsequent rise of academic feminism. Likewise, the importance now attached to the study of sexuality can be traced to early feminist concerns with issues of sexual difference (Firestone 1970; Rich 1980:631-60; Wittig 1981:47-54), even though contemporary studies on sexuality would be inconceivable in their present shape and form without Michel Foucault's (1978) seminal work on the nexus between sexuality and power. Certainly Foucault's innovative contention that sex is a product of regimes of sexuality, and hence not a

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