Rights and Rescue: Ethical World Making in the Anti-Trafficking and Sex Worker Rights Movements in Canada
McFadyen, Nicole Diane
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Grounded in ethnographic research on the anti-trafficking and sex worker rights movements in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, with additional insights gathered from the migrant worker rights movement, and rooted in activist anthropology research methodologies, this dissertation explores social movements, interactions within and between them, and how human rights frameworks are differentially imagined, produced, and interpreted by them. Drawing on the anthropologies of humanitarianism, ethics, and human rights, as well as the interdisciplinary scholarship on social movements and critical feminist anti-trafficking studies, social movements are conceptualized as ethical worlds wherein the individual ethical orientations and ideological beliefs of movement members contribute to the movements guiding framework, with implications for how tensions and conflict are navigated, the activities of movement members, and discursive and in-person encounters between different social movements. With implications for how human rights are conceptualized, deployed, and engaged with by both privileged and differentially marginalized populations in Canada, this dissertation identifies and unpacks the hierarchies of suffering and compassion that sustain them and presents a valuable theoretical framework for investigating the privileging of some over others.