Choice-Makers and Risk-Takers in Neo-Liberal Liquid Modernity: The Contradiction of the “Entrepreneurial” Sex Worker
AbstractThe transformation from a welfare-based to a neo-liberal society, from a solid to liquid (post) modernity, has reconfigured the social category of the individual into one that is highly individualized, fragmented, commercialized and entangled in consumer culture. In this society individuals are conceptualized as being rational choice-makers and entrepreneurs – sifting through the multiple options available in order to appropriate the identity(ies)/role that will maximize benefits and minimize harms. Some identities, however, are still solid, unable to escape stigmatization and exclusion. Using the image of ‘the sex worker’, this paper aims to deconstruct this contradiction questioning why, under a socio-political system that values individuals who become entrepreneurs and take advantage of consumerism in a manner which maximizes financial benefits and minimizes risks, have sex workers not been redefined in this context? Rather, extending from Bauman’s (2007a) characterization of consumerism’s collateral casualties, they have come to be seen as ‘inconspicuous’ non-consumers.