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Selling Sex in Kenya


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Table of Contents

1. Introduction; 2. Neo-liberal transformations and gender in Kenya; 3. Gendered livelihoods and 'bargaining with patriarchy'; 4. Selling sex in Mombasa; 5. Dreams and strategies of women selling sex; 6. A vicious circle: work-related dangers and obstacles for exiting sex work; 7. Connecting global and local: Kenyan state, NGOs and the sex worker movement; 8. Conclusions: gendered limits of agency in a neo-liberal world.

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A study of gendered agency under neoliberal structures, seen through the life stories and narratives of Kenyan sex workers.

About the Author

Egle Cesnulyte is Lecturer in Politics and International Development in the School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies (SPAIS) at the University of Bristol and Deputy Director of the Gender Research Centre at the University of Bristol. Her research has been published in journals including Development and Change, Review of African Political Economy and New Political Economy.


'An outstanding contribution to the understanding of sex work in Kenya in the context of neoliberalism. Egle Cesnulyte explores with immense analytical heft, and on the basis of extensive ethnography, how sex work can be a way for women to accumulate capital and to sustain livelihood strategies as part of reproductive labour. A must read.' Ray Bush, University of Leeds
'This excellent analysis of how female sex workers in Mombasa, Kenya, experience and challenge socio-economic realities provides critical insight into their lives; how they exercise agency in 'tight corners'; and the gendered impact of neo-liberal practice and discourse. A must read for anyone interested in gender, everyday political economy or neoliberalism.' Gabrielle Lynch, University of Warwick

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