Protest By Other Means? Sex Workers, Social Movement Evolution And The Political Possibilities Of Nonprofit Service Provision
Is it possible for service organizations formed from protest movements to maintain their radical commitments, even when they partner with state agencies? Engaging with the social movements, civic engagement, and nonprofit sector literatures, I focus on the American prostitutes’ rights movement and the emergence from it of the California Prevention and Education Project (CAL-PEP) and the St James Infirmary (SJI) in the San Francisco Bay Area. As flagship nonprofit health service organizations, the SJI and CAL-PEP illustrate how a social movement’s radical impulses and claims-making capacities are both maintained and restricted when they are institutionalized into service provision organizations that seek to work with state agencies in an era of neoliberal politics. Based on participant-observational, interview-based and archival research, I contend that CAL-PEP and the SJI express their radical impulses within their organizations by maintaining prostitution as a legitimate occupational choice and involving sex workers in service provision and management. Granting agreements encouraging local, community-based health service provision and an emphasis on professional, credentialed service provision permit this expression of their radical impulses, even as charitable nonprofit tax status and granting agency requirements for data collection constrain their capacities to advocate for sex workers' rights beyond their organizations.
Dissertation or Thesis