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This article is based on an ethnographic study of a group of Scheduled Caste (SC) male youth in a globalised tourist site in Kerala, South India, who participate in situational sexual and romantic relationships with predominantly tourist women from the global north. We first aim to expand on the “sex and romance tourism” literature of such encounters to provide an Indian context. Secondly, we aim to highlight how young men involved in such encounters undertake complex mediations of localised and global forms of consumption and commoditisation to participate in the neoliberal tourist market place. Mainly by way of a subculture known as the Jungees, we describe how young men utilise the former processes to seek economic and social mobility for themselves and their families but also to valorise and re-imagine their identity along racial, gendered, caste and class-based dimensions. Finally, we explore the young men’s articulation of a hierarchy of preferred encounters that draws on gendered, sexualised and racialised local and global imaginaries of commoditised desire(s) of tourist women from the global north. We highlight the ways in which participants actively utilise the neoliberal context to engage in a range of self-generated livelihood strategies and to contest their marginality.


School of Arts

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Journal Article

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