Prostitution, Gender and Migration is a multidisiplinary research project funded by the Norwegian Research Council under the FRISAM programme (for social science research). PROGEMI runs from July 2006 through October 2011.
The project is built around two main research interests: Transnational prostitution as a form of female migration, and prostitution as a field where important political and academic conflicts around gender and sexuality are played out. By approaching prostitution across borders from these two angles, we will link the issue to larger processes of female migration, and discuss how discourses on prostitution and migrant women can give insights on dominant ideas about gender and sexuality.
The empirical focus will be on Russian women selling sex in Norway. In politics and research, consideration has been given to the conditions under which the women live and to how they get into prostitution. Various political actions have been taken to improve their situation and to counter trafficking. Still, knowledge about these women and how they enter prostitution is limited. Who are they, how do they enter prostitution, and how and why do they come to Norway? What are the discourses around the issue, and how has the problem of transnational prostitution been defined and handled politically in the two countries? We will focus on local practices and discourses as well as national discourses and policies, and address how these levels interact. An important goal is to analyse how prostitution is experienced by those directly involved, and relate this to macro-level discourses and policies.
Another goal is to contribute substantially to international research on prostitution. A central theme will be how gender interacts with other distinguishing dimensions, like class, ethnicity and nationality. Prostitution challenges common notions about sex, love, man- and womanhood. Through our own intake, we hope to make a significant contribution to social scientific theorizing on prostitution, but also theorising on sexuality and gender more broadly. By working with Russian colleagues, we also aim to strengthen existing research cooperation between our institutions and countries.
The project leader of PROGEMI is Dr Dag Stenvoll at the Rokkan Centre for Social Studies, Uni Research, Bergen. The other researchers on the project are Dr May-Len Skilbrei at FAFO, Oslo, Dr Christine M. Jacobsen at IMER Bergen, and Astrid Renland and Irina Polyakova at the Department of Criminology and the Sociology of Law, University of Oslo.
- To produce knowledge on discourses about transnational prostitution, based on textual analysis of laws, political debates, white papers, and news coverage, and on interviews with key policy actors.
- To produce knowledge about women’s lives in transnational prostitution and how this prostitution is organised, based on qualitative interviews with Russian women who sell sex in Norway.
- To combine the analysis on discourses and the analysis of women’s experiences, in order to learn how macro and micro level processes interact.
- To analyse how Norwegian discourses and politics on prostitution and trafficking are informed and affected by international forums such as the EU and the UN.
- To relate transnational prostitution to female migration in general.