The business of desire: "Russian" bars in Amman, Jordan

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This paper discusses the type of work migrant women from the former Eastern European countries perform in nightclubs in Amman, Jordan. The fieldwork for this qualitative study was conducted in 2010 and is based on in-depth interviews with 13 women. The topic is approached from the perspective of describing women's choices and journeys to this work. It juxtaposes the sexualised nature of their work with their yearning for a "normal" family life, which they imagine, yet know, is impossible to achieve with the men they meet in their workplaces. Layered on top of these private desires among both women and their clients is the business strategy of the clubs, which operate in the lucrative but marginal space of selling exotic but respectable seduction. I draw on the literature about female migration to the Middle East in order to argue that hostesses in these bars perform affective labour akin to care work, within the neoliberal global economy that individualises risk.

Original languageEnglish
JournalReproductive Health Matters
Issue numbersup1
Pages (from-to)65-74
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


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