- National Women Studies Association Gloria E. Anzaldúa Book Prize, 2015.
- Society for the Study of Social Problems Global Division Distinguished Book Award, 2016.
- American Sociological Association (ASA) Global & Transnational Sociology Best Scholarly Book Award, 2016.
- ASA Race, Class & Gender Distinguished Book Award Co-winner, 2016.
- ASA Sex & Gender Section Distinguished Book Award Co-winner, 2016.
- ASA Sexualities Section Distinguished Book Award, 2016.
- Association for Asian Studies, Southeast Asia Council Harry J. Benda Book Prize, 2017.
“This extraordinary work is pathbreaking, substantively, theoretically, and methodologically. It powerfully explores the socially co-constitutive and critical cultural role of Vietnam’s multi-tiered sex industry in its bourgeoning global economic sector. Hoang simultaneously dissects competing hierarchies of race, gender, and nation in the pursuit of multinational deals and masculine desires. It upends traditional trafficking studies of Asian sex workers as victims, presenting them instead as shrewd entrepreneurs and creative agents of their own lives. A methodological tour de force. Malinowskian in scope, depth, daring, and technical virtuosity, this will remain the standard by which sociological fieldwork in other societies will be judged for years to come.”
—Orlando Patterson, John Cowles Professor of Sociology, Harvard University, and coeditor of The Cultural Matrix: Understanding Black Youth
“Dealing in Desire is a stunning book – an exemplar of what global ethnography should be. It knits together global finance, colonial fantasy, and national identity in its exploration of the stratified sex work industry of Ho Chi Minh City. Bridging macro and micro processes, it shows us that sex work is about far more than sex. It is about desire for status, anxieties about masculinity and downward mobility, and economic competition. Through this remarkable ethnography we are able to see sex work as a dense site where both clients and workers navigate and negotiate hierarchies of race, class, and gender to enhance their position in the global political economy.”
— Raka Ray, Professor and Chair of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley and author of Cultures of Servitude: Modernity, Domesticity and Class in India
Dealing in Desire is the most extraordinary ethnography I have read in years. At a time when ethnographers in sociology seem inclined to write sensationalist accounts designed for mass appeal, Hoang represents the relationship between sexual and economic relations in Vietnam with exceptional thoughtfulness, methodological self-reflection, and theoretical sophistication. The book beautifully examines the relationships among masculinity, femininity, power, sexuality, and financial transactions among Western and Vietnamese women and men, making clear the many ways that sex workers and their clients or patrons manipulate their relationships to meet complex personal and economic needs. Hoang’s approach is masterful. She respects her subjects enough to avoid feeding two most common narratives in typical representations of Asian sex workers, the exotic doll and the helpless victim. And she respects her readers enough to challenge us with a complex yet consistently engaging narrative. Dealing in Desire is a triumph.
—Mario Luis Small, Grafstein Family Professor, Harvard University, and author of Unanticipated Gains: Origins of Network Inequality in Everyday Life
“Eye-opening and ground-breaking. Kimberly Kay Hoang’s tour-de-force ethnography inhabits and crosses multiple domains of desire-making to showcase the mutual construction of masculinities, financial deal-making, and transnational political-economic identities. Through the innovative frame of desire as a force of production, this work dismantles the problematic analytic binaries of “culture” and “economy.”Specifically, by viscerally analyzing the role of confidence, the production of hierarchical status, and the buttressing of failure – which are all premised on particular performances of feminine submission –in creating the conditions of possibility for investment (and individual) potentials, Hoang delivers what many works have only promised. That is, that embodiment, inequality, and intimacy construct social economies. Differential masculinities and women’s roles in brokering these differences while making space for their own life projects are the currencies of market development and action. Rarely ever has the relationship between desire, work, capital, and national identity been so viscerally articulated. Truly an intrepid, captivating ethnography.”
— Karen Ho, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Minnesota, and author of Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street