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Red Lights

The Lives of Sex Workers in Postsocialist China

Red Lights by Tiantian Zheng
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In China today, sex work cannot be untangled from the phenomenon of rural–urban migration, the entertainment industry, and state power. In Red Lights, Tiantian Zheng highlights the urban karaoke bar as the locus at which these three factors intersect and provides a rich account of the lives of karaoke hostesses—a career whose name disguises the sex work and minimizes the surprising influence these women often have as power brokers. Zheng embarked on two years of intensely embedded ethnographic fieldwork in her birthplace, Dalian, a large northeastern Chinese seaport of over six million people. During this time, Zheng lived and worked with a group of hostesses in a karaoke bar, facing many of the same dangers that they did and forming strong, intimate bonds with them. The result is an especially engaging, moving story of young, rural women struggling to find meaning, develop a modern and autonomous identity, and, ultimately, survive within an oppressively patriarchal state system. Moving from her case studies to broader theories of sex, gender, and power, Zheng connects a growth in capitalist entrepreneurialism to the emergence of an urban sex industry, brilliantly illuminating the ways in which hostesses, their clients, and the state are mutually created in postsocialist China.
University of Minnesota Press; March 2009
304 pages; ISBN 9780816668205
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Title: Red Lights
Author: Tiantian Zheng
  • News
Riding a tiger through a Chinese brothel - Asia Times Online
Fri, 08 May 2009 02:26:20 -0700
Asia Times OnlineRiding a tiger through a Chinese brothelAsia Times OnlineAt least initially, the rural migrants refused to ...
SUNY Cortland Professor Tiantian Zheng Receives SUNY Chancellor's Award - ReadMedia (press release)
Wed, 16 May 2012 09:16:10 -0700
ReadMedia (press release)SUNY Cortland Professor Tiantian Zheng Receives SUNY Chancellor's AwardReadMedia (press ...

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