Law and Critique

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 289–309 | Cite as

Confronting Law Affectively: Encounters of a Patpong Sex Tourist

  • Victoria BrooksEmail author


When considering spaces of sex-work such as Patpong in Bangkok, Thailand, the inclination is to be drawn into habitual debates concerning the legitimacy of sex-work and the clear objectification of sex-workers. While these concerns are valid and real, there are significant absences in terms of the theoretical mapping of the space, such as the affect of the presence of law, bodies, space and the sexual encounter itself. Law emerges as the most significant presence, since it both forms the transactional surface of Patpong and produces the confusion and revilement that results from the confluence of cold legal exchange with the tactile intimacy of the sexual encounter. This text explores the ethnographic space of Patpong in order to understand ways in which law’s transactional, effective surface is both embodied through subjectivication and spatially emplaced, yet also disrupted through the affective agency of the bodies and spaces it enfolds in order to produce this surface. This exploration will point to the limitations of law’s effective surface and suggest ways in which law might be located within a regime of affect, which returns the law to the body it subjectivises.


Affect Bangkok Deleuze Materiality Sexuality Sex-work Space 



I would like to thank Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos for his comments on drafts of this article, and for his patience and thoughtful engagement with my work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Law SchoolUniversity of WestminsterLondonUK

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