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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: November 2019

8 - Conclusions


Chapter 8 brings together questions of sex work and agency to reflect on gender under neoliberalism. First, the chapter makes a claim about the gendered nature of making a living, with women’s options being defined by informality and depending on male income in exchange for their social reproductive labour. Women who cannot strike a traditional bargain with patriarchy are left in precarity, and some of them choose sex work as one of these precarious informal ways for making a living, so pointing to the gendered inequalities that neoliberal practice builds upon. Second, the chapter points to the neoliberal agency that is possible in these gendered and constrained structures. Women can instrumentalise gendered inequalities for their own progression and accumulation purposes. Discussions about the work strategies and life plans of women selling sex point to such possibilities if they internalise market logic and successfully embrace their neoliberal self in the violent everyday realities. However, as the third part of the chapter shows, such agency is an option available only to a few, and those who cannot or do not manage to negotitate competitive markets for their own advantage remain in gendered precarity and are guided by the logic of livelihood.

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