Sex, Love and Money in Cambodia: Professional Girlfriends and Transactional Relationships, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Sex, Love and Money in Cambodia

Professional Girlfriends and Transactional Relationships, 1st Edition

By Heidi Hoefinger


232 pages | 4 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2014-09-03
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Dealing with the complex and discomforting ‘grey ‘area where sex, love and money collide, this book highlights the general materiality of everyday sex that takes place in all relationships. In doing so, it draws attention to and destigmatizes the transactional elements within many ‘normative’ partnerships – be they transnational, inter-ethnic or otherwise.

Focusing on Cambodia, and on a subculture of young women employed in the tourist bar scene referred to as ‘professional girlfriends’, the book shows that the resulting transnational relationships between Cambodian women and their foreign partners are complex and multi-layered. It argues that the sex-for-cash prostitution framework is no longer an appropriate model of analysis. Instead, a new vocabulary of ‘professional girlfriends’ and ‘transactional sex’ is used, with which the nuanced complexities of these transnational partnerships are analysed.

Interdisciplinary in nature, the book inspires new understandings of gender, power, sex, love, desire, political economy and materiality within everyday relationships around the globe. It is a useful contribution for students and scholars of Anthropology, Sociology, Southeast Asian Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Cultural Studies.

Table of Contents

1. Professional Girlfriends and Transactional Sex 2. Methods, Ethics and Intimate Ethnography 3. Sex, Work and Agency 4. Politics, History and the Sexual Landscape 5. Sexuality, Subculture and Alternative Kinship 6. Constructions of Love and the Materiality of Everyday Sex 7. Moving Beyond Sex Work

About the Author

Heidi Hoefinger is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Development and Research Institutes in New York and an Adjunct Lecturer in Gender and Sexuality Studies at the Institute of South East Asian Affairs at Chiang Mai University, Thailand.

About the Series

The Modern Anthropology of Southeast Asia

The books in this series address issues in processes of development, globalisation and change in Southeast Asia. Where appropriate they contextualise change and local responses to it by providing ethnographic materials on social and cultural forms and institutions. Although all the contributors to the series examine modern and contemporary issues in the anthropology of Southeast Asia, the emphasis in each book differs as authors choose to concentrate on specific dimensions of change and globalisation or work out particular conceptual approaches to the complex issues of development. Areas of concern include: nation-building, power and the media; technological innovations in agriculture and rural-urban migration; the expansion of industrial and commercial employment; the rapid increase in cultural and ethnic tourism; the consequences of deforestation and environmental degradation; heritage and identity; contemporary expressions of religious affliliation; the 'modernisation of tradition'; ethnic identity and conflict; changing gender relations; and the religious transformation of society.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General