Pratiques d'empowerment auprès des travailleuses du sexe : l'expérience du Projet L.U.N.E.

Authors: Bernard, Audrey
Advisor: Raymond, Émilie
Abstract: According to some researchers, stigmatization is the main problem experienced by sex workers (SWs). Considering that empowerment practices seem promising for overcoming barriers related to stigmatization, the authors suggest documenting mechanisms associated with the success of this kind of practice among SWs. Although SWs’ voices are generally absent from the literature, this study explores the perspectives of the participants and allies of Projet L.U.N.E., a group set up to improve belonging, recognition and advocacy for and by SWs. Based on a grounded theory approach, this qualitative, exploratory study documents the transformative processes whereby empowerment practices create benefits. In accordance with the project’s pragmatic, interactive orientation, attention is focused on “what works” to overcome stigmatization. Based on semi-structured interviews with 9 SWs and 5 allies, this study identified seven transformative processes: (1) enhance SWs’ status by redefining their image ; (2) provide a structuring project that allows them to “get their lives on track” ; (3) support SWs’ social inclusion by giving them an anchor point ; (4) support collectivization by bringing SWs together ; (5) act on relationships of power to facilitate participation ; (6) act to improve living conditions ; and (7) upgrade knowledge and skills. This thesis also reveals four areas of tension inherent in empowerment practices: the ambivalence between identification and distancing in relation to sex work; the relationship between norms and marginality; the transition from “I” to “we”; and power sharing between allies and SWs. This thesis provides a better understanding of the empowerment process and also suggests ways to improve interventions with SWs.
Document Type: Mémoire de maîtrise
Issue Date: 2019
Open Access Date: 18 December 2019
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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