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Doctoral Project

Sex [at] Work in Nepal: Discourses around Sexuality, Self-Perception and Society
Lisa Caviglia (M.Sc.)

The institutional arrangements for the exchange of sexual services in the Nepalese context, especially in the capital city Kathmandu, stand out in number and form, partly fashioned by a pervasive network of market forces and information flows.
In dealing with the relationship between sex and consumer culture, perceptions of the body, womanhood, gender and sexuality will be emphasised in this project. In addition to this, the potential transitions of what are deemed to be appropriate, inappropriate and tolerable behaviours will be considered, hence allowing the unravelling of subtle negotiations in adjusting moral standards. Sex work is taken as an 'optic for investigation' (a term borrowed from Appadurai’s analytical approach) rather than 'a reified social fact' (Appadurai, 1996), and intends to include sexual titillation performances, thereby not being limited to the two-party exchange of money for sexual intercourse. The attempt is to follow and draw a picture of the changes and continuities characterising local sexual norms and perceptions in the context of sexual consumption, as well as to understand, how discourses, pragmatic factors and emerging lifestyles may structure notions of sexuality and erotic aesthetics.