In the introduction to Lydia's Open Door-her brilliant ethnographic study of the Zona Galáctica, a modern state-regulated brothel in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Mexico-Patty Kelly notes matter-of-factly that "this is a book about women's sexual labor in neoliberal Mexico" (2). Although it sounds straightforward enough, the statement foregrounds two contentious debates, one among feminist scholars over prostitution versus sex work and the other among social scientists over the pros and cons of globalization. Kelly's insightful engagement with these questions not only sheds considerable light on state-sponsored sexual labor in southern Mexico (and on state-sponsored sexual labor in general), it also provides useful correctives to the acrimonious theorizing that has come to characterize these two debates. And Kelly's potent combination of theoretical engagement, ethnographic richness, careful contextualization, and lively style make Lydia's Open Door an important and welcome contribution to scholarship on prostitution/sex work, neoliberal modes of governance, and the feminization of poverty.
Copyright © 2012-2013 Estudios Interdisciplinarios de América Latina y el Caribe.
Editores: Ori Preuss; Nahuel Ribke
Instituto Sverdlin de Historia y Cultura de América Latina, Escuela de Historia
Universidad de Tel Aviv, Ramat Aviv,
P.O.B. 39040 (69978), Israel.
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