Manoeuvring in the City: Spatial and Temporal Tactics of Sex-working Mothers in Hong Kong

Authors: Ho Lam Cheng*, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Topics: Sexuality, Gender, Cultural Geography
Keywords: sex work, mothering, tactic, mobility, exclusion, place
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Cleveland 2, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Studies about female sex workers (FSWs) tend to revolve around mental health and social status related challenges they face. Multiple subject positions these women inhabit and spatial practices they deploy to maintain their in/visibility in the face socio-spatial exclusion remain understudied. This paper explores the Asian landscapes of sex work by looking at the spatial and temporal tactics Hong Kong-based FSWs deploy to negotiate disparate domestic and work-based identities. In particular, I look at the impact of motherhood on the spatial mobility of these women. Through in-depth interviews with sex-working single mothers, I explain how concealing their occupation from their children and neighbours influences these women’s locational choices for work, leisure, and familial activities. I argue that FSWs deploy spatial tactics of distanciation and specific modes of corporeal conduct to maintain multiple subject positions and avoid stigmatization in the heavily heteronormative environment of Hong Kong, where they are marginalised and excluded spatially.

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