Perceptions of prostitution: a critical ethnographic case study of urban and regional areas in Indonesia

Author: Riswanda Riswanda

Riswanda, Riswanda, 2015 Perceptions of prostitution: a critical ethnographic case study of urban and regional areas in Indonesia, Flinders University, School of Social and Policy Studies

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This thesis applies critical systems thinking to address prostitution policy in Indonesia. It addresses social, economic and environmental aspects of the complex policy concern. The research centres on the way in which prostitution is framed by the different interest groups in Indonesia. It underlines the current crisis in policy making praxis in Indonesia. The thesis develops a case for systemic policy praxis.

The aim of the research is to:

• Obtain a greater understanding of the life chances of vulnerable people who survive through prostitution, in order to enhance social justice for the vulnerable.

• Make a case for reframing the issue of prostitution in the sense that addresses the ‘capabilities’ (Sen 1999 and Nussbaum 2000) of marginalised people

• Reframe the policy response to prostitution to address life chances and human dignity.

• Make a case that this is the policy making gap where ‘systemic intervention’ is needed to restore human dignity.

The thesis is concerned about the commodification of human beings aided and abetted by the market and the extent to which choices are available to those who are facing extreme poverty as a result of the neo-liberal economy.

The thesis makes the case for treating people as ends in themselves and not as a means to an end. It considers the social, cultural, political and economic context of decisions (drawing on critical heuristics) to enhance the capability of policy makers and practitioners to make better decisions rather than basing policy on narrow pragmatism that punishes the victims of the prostitution industry, namely those who sell their labour as commodified beings.

This research is expected to contribute to intellectual discourses in policy making on approaches to: a) enhance the capabilities of the vulnerable; b) develop regulations to protect them and to address the problematic aspects associated with normalising the sex industry c) address policy to support social justice and makes the case for not labeling people or limiting their chances for achieving quality of life.

Keywords: policy, prostitution, Indonesia

Subject: Social Work thesis, Justice and Society thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2015
School: School of Social and Policy Studies
Supervisor: Janet McIntyre