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Lydia's Open Door : Inside Mexico's Most Modern Brothel

ISBN: 9780520255364 | 0520255364
Edition: 1st
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Univ of California Pr
Pub. Date: 4/14/2008

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In this groundbreaking ethnographic study, Patty Kelly examines the lives of the women who work in the Zona Galactica, a state-run brothel in Chiapas's capital city. By delving into lives that would otherwise go unremarked, this book documents the modernization of the sex industry during the neoliberal era in the city of Tuxtla Gutieacute;rrez and illustrates how state-regulated sex became part of a broader effort by government officials to bring modernity to Chiapas, one of Mexico's poorest and most conflicted states. Kelly's innovative approach, which dispassionately locates prostitution in a political-economic context by treating it as work, shows how freedom and anxiety and the market and morality coexist in the business of sex. She provides both the view from above-of politicians, bureaucrats, city workers, campesinos, and an anthropologist interacting within the world of sexual commerce-and the view from below-of sex workers and their clients. But most valuably she conveys her analysis through vivid portraits of the lives of the sex workers themselves and shows that the women involved are neither victims nor heroines but something else: actors caught between agency and constraint.

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