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It is about desire for status, anxieties about masculinity and downward mobility, and economic competition.
Through this remarkable ethnography we are able to see sex work as a dense site where both clients and workers navigate and negotiate hierarchies of race, class, and gender to enhance their position in the global political economy."—Raka Ray, Professor and Chair of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley and author of Cultures of Servitude: Modernity, Domesticity and Class in India"Dealing in Desire is easily the most deeply researched and rigorously argued book ever written about the Vietnamese sex industry and it is surely one of the most authoritative studies currently available on the sociological dynamics of sex work in the current era of accelerated globalization.
For a piece of serious academic scholarship, it is also a remarkably gripping read."—Peter Zinoman, Professor of History and Southeast Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley "Dealing in Desire is the most extraordinary ethnography I have read in years.
At a time when ethnographers in sociology seem inclined to write sensationalist accounts designed for mass appeal, Hoang represents the relationship between sexual and economic relations in Vietnam with exceptional thoughtfulness, methodological self-reflection, and theoretical sophistication.
Differential masculinities and women’s roles in brokering these differences while making space for their own life projects are the currencies of market development and action.
Rarely ever has the relationship between desire, work, capital, and national identity been so viscerally articulated.
Zelizer, Lloyd Cotsen ’50 Professor of Sociology at Princeton University, and author of The Purchase of Intimacy and Economic Lives “In Dealing in Desire, Hoang shows us how to look at the micro to learn about the macro.
Her rich ethnographic account of the sexual industries in Vietnam situates our understanding of sex work in a larger political economy as it illustrates how race, nation, and class produce multiple masculinities and femininities.”—Rhacel Salazar Parreñas, author of Servants of Globalization: Women, Migration, and Domestic Work“Dealing in Desire is obviously an exceptionally courageous book given the challenging fieldwork Hoang engaged in.
That is, that embodiment, inequality, and intimacy construct social economies.The book beautifully examines the relationships among masculinity, femininity, power, sexuality, and financial transactions among Western and Vietnamese women and men, making clear the many ways that sex workers and their clients or patrons manipulate their relations to meet complex personal and economic needs. She respects her subjects enough to avoid feeding two most common tropes in common representations of Asian sex workers, the exotic doll and the helpless victim.And she respects her readers enough to challenge us with a complex yet consistently engaging narrative.These surveillance data also report widespread variation in the HIV seroprevalence among FSWs in the various provinces with high rates in Hai Phong in the north west and Can Tho, Ho Chi Minh City, and An Giang in the south but low levels in other areas.In many parts of South East Asia, FSWs are at increased risk of HIV and merit targeted HIV prevention activities.
Dealing in Desire takes an in-depth and often personal look at both the sex workers and their clients to show how Vietnamese high finance and benevolent giving are connected to the intimate spheres of the informal economy. Hoang simultaneously dissects competing hierarchies of race, gender, and nation in the pursuit of multinational deals and masculine desires.