Motives Bar Work in Thailand

Sammenfatning: Ca. 27 prosent av sexarbeiderne jobber i turistbaserte barer i Thailand pga. fattigdom (economic hardship). Ca. 57 prosent av barjentene har det de trenger, er relativt velstående, og jobber i bar fordi de ønsker å bli rikere og heve levestandarden sin (economic advantage.) Resten jobber pga. «kjedsomhet», «status», «vennskap» og «engelsk». (Intervjuet totalt: 640 barjenter i Pattaya)

Kilde: Thomas M. Steinfatt. Working at the Bar: Sex Work and Health Communication in Thailand (Civic Discourse for the Third Millennium)

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The desire for money is by far the major reason given for working, whether the respondent is from a rural area of Isan or a physician’s daughter from Bangkok.

Both of these workers perceive that they need money, therefore they work. However, an analysis this simplistic fails to examine the various ways and degrees in which a person or family may need money, as in needing more jewelry and expensive clothes versus maintaining a subsistence level of existence.

Thus, the respondent’s statements of why she works were taken together with her statements concerning her parents’ occupations and those of other family members, her descriptions of her house of origin, and what the family does with the money she sends to them, for example, buy food versus repair roof versus send sons to school versus buy motorcycle versus build new house.

Of the total Phase I sample, 82.9% (N = 346) gave economic reasons as the prime motivation for bar work, and the Phase II sample at 84.0% (N = 294) did not differ significantly from this value.

Intertwined with the economic motive was the concept of duty. Money was the motive, but workers saw it as their responsibility to provide that money to their families.

27.5% of the total Phase I sample were judged to he working due to economic hardship. This group tended to combine statements of a background of poverty and a strong economic need with statements of pride in being able to fulfill one’s duty to one’s parents to provide support for them as the secondary reason for working.

Just over 39% of the economic hardship group was composed of mothers who were caring for their children, many of whom were in the care of the family hack home.

Most of the remainder was comprised of workers who were the primary means of support for their family of origin but did not have children of their own. The primary home area of the majority of bar workers categorized in this group was Isan, followed by Chiang Mai and Bangkok.

The remaining two-thirds of the 82.9% (or 54.9% of the total Phase I sample) were judged to be working in order to increase economic advantage but were also judged as well beyond subsistence both personally and in terms of family economics from the statements given.

In Phase II, 58.8% of the total sample was classified as working primarily for economic advantage (see Table 3.2). This group, while having the basic necessities of life both for themselves and their families without bar work, sought to better their economic position and standard of living through working at the bar.

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Om studien:

(Working at the bar er den grundigste og mest omfattende studien som noensinne har vært gjort av situasjonen til sexarbeidere på turistbaserte barer i Thailand. Studien spenner over 10 år og over 4000 sexarbeidere er intervjuet.)

Her er noen sitater fra metodologien:

«Over both phases of data collection (1988-1999), we observed the behavior of over 4,000 workers, both within and outside the bar, and interviewers spoke with 1,604 bar workers and firrmer workers. In-depth interviews were conducted with 770 of these women.

Interviews were conducted by myself and by 29 Thai assistants, 10 male and 19 female. Eleven of the female interviewers were former bar workers. Five of the males had previous bar experience in non-sex work jobs.

No more than three assistants were used in any one interview year, and at least one assistant was always female. Seven workers were each interviewed three times during Phase I, with the repeat interviews occurring at least six weeks apart and under different circumstances. One of these three was conducted by the myself, one by a female «I’hai interviewer, and one by a male «l’hai interviewer. A comparison of the results indicated no substantial differences in the information obtained by gender or by ethnicity of interviewer, provided that the worker spoke basic English in addition to Thai. This does not mean that interviewer gender or ethnicity never influenced the data obtained, but that such an effect, if it did occur, was not apparent in the data obtained.»

Om forfatteren:

THOMAS M. STEINFATT is Professor of Communications at the University of Miami, where he served as Director of Communication Studies for twelve years. He has also served as Chair of the Interpersonal Communication Division of the National Communication Association, as Chair of the Intercultural Division of the Southern Communication Association, and has received both the Florida Communication Association Scholar of the Year Award and the University of Miami Excellence in Teaching Award.

He serves as a consultant on executive, organizational, and intercultural communication to corporations, NGOs, and branches of government both in the United States and abroad, and as an expert witness on communicative abilities, propaganda, corporate documents, and interpretations of labels and texts. He also serves as a commentator on political communication for Miami television stations, and on National Public Radio. He directs the University of Miami’s Annual Conference on International and Intercultural Communication and the National Communication Association’s Annual Seminar on Communication, AIDS, and Sexuality.

His publications include over fifty scholarly articles, chapters, and monographs that have appeared in Human Communication Research, Communication Monographs, The Quarterly Journal of Speech, Communication Education, The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Simulation and Games, The Southern Communication Journal, Communication Quarterly, The Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, Communication Reports, Communication Research Reports, Management Communication Quarterly, World Communication, and Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, among others, and has served on the editorial boards of sixteen scholarly journals.

He has published four books, most recently Intercultural Communication co-authored with Everett Rogers (1999), and Working at the Bar: Sex Work and Health Communication in Thailand (2002).

Dr. Steinfatt is a Fulbright Scholar, working with the Royal University of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. His research on trafficking in women and children has been funded by USAID and is used by the U.S. State Department in combating human trafficking in Cambodia.

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