COVID-19 as catalyst for sex worker counter narratives

Austin, Heather L (2022) COVID-19 as catalyst for sex worker counter narratives. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Harmful master narratives of sex work rooted in historical stigma, marginalization, and violence tangibly affect how sex workers have been navigating the COVID-19 crisis. Narratives that paint sex workers as inherent victims have manifested in generalizations and legislation that make it exceptionally difficult for them to access social assistance and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) (Canada, 2021). Additionally, discourses that portray sex workers as vectors of disease and moral malaise make it easier to justify repressive policing practices and scapegoating. This thesis examines the self-produced social media discourse of Canadian sex workers, advocates, and allies that counter harmful narratives of sex work through the COVID-19 crisis. It examines how social media was leveraged to manage identity and reshape meanings though the lenses of social constructionist, feminist, queer, social movement, and media theory to illuminate how a marginalized group used the political opportunity of the pandemic to counter harmful narratives that so often culminate in oppression and violence.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 15716
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 124-138)
Keywords: sex work, COVID-19, counter narratives, social media, stigma
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Sociology
Date: March 2022
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Sex workers; Prostitution; COVID-19 (Disease); social media; Stigma (Social psychology)

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