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Sexual Spaces Interview Data, 2016-2018

Silk, Michael (2021) Sexual Spaces Interview Data, 2016-2018.
Research on Olympic cities and those hosting sport mega events has tended to address national identity-making, media representation (often with respect to the narratives of city/nation promoting tourism and investment), and associated landscapes of urban regeneration/gentrification. There has been less academic emphasis on the informal economies that coalesce around such events, with even less of a focus on the relationship between sporting events and urban sexual landscapes. Media speculation often points to heightened demand for sexual services around Sport Mega Events (SMEs), especially in relation to the global trafficking of sex workers. Indeed, these reports are often used to justify policing and other social control measures and rationalise city 'cleansing', displacing sex work from the spaces which become visible to international audiences in the context of a major sporting event. At the same time, event-related construction and road closure can also disrupt established spaces of sex work and street prostitution. In Brazil, and despite the Government actively supporting legalised prostitution, such challenges raise a number of concerns surrounding eviction, loss of community support, loss of worker rights, stigmatization, and the displacement of sexual commerce from the centre to the margins (raising concerns over safety, criminal control, and violence). However, there exists a dearth of relevant scientific data on the sexual landscapes associated with the Olympics or more widely on the impact of large-scale sporting events on vulnerable sex working populations (an omission noted by Deering et al., 2012; Matheson and Finkel, 2014). This project will provide this data by completing the first funded academic study on the impact of the Olympics on sex workers. The data herein represent the raw interview data with over 100 sex workers in Rio interviewed between 2016 and 2018. Data collection took place in conjunction with the Prostitution Policy Watch [Observatório da Prostituição], an extension project of the Metropolitan Ethnographic Lab (LeMetro/IFCS) at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro which draws together an (inter)national team comprised of allies in academia (e.g. the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Fluminense Federal University, the Gender Studies Centre at the State University of Campinas, the Mailman School of Public Health and Faculty of Law at Columbia University, and Gender and Sexuality Studies at Williams College) and the broader public/activist sphere (Davida: Prostitution, Civil Rights, and Health, ABIA: Brazilian Interdisciplinary Association of AIDS, and the Brazilian Network of Prostitutes). The data allowed purchase on the manner in which the female sex worker adapted to the entrepreneurial essence of the Olympic event to capitalize on the influx of tourism in an otherwise bleak economic moment.
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