Research

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Research Trajectory

As an interdisciplinarily trained sociologist, I work at the intersection of criminology, law and society, and gender. In my research I embrace an intersectional approach to understanding the way current public discourses and legal policies impact marginalized communities. I address the ways systems used in the social control of deviance— criminalization and medicalization— participate in social exclusion. My current research demonstrates the ways in which responsibilization is a fundamentally gendered state practice and explores the manifestations and impacts of responsibilization strategies on female offenders and their communities.

My dissertation project, Returning to Grace: Gender and Responsibilization in the State’s Management of Sex Work and Trafficking (defended June 2019), demonstrates how the criminal justice system’s assigning of victim status to women in prostitution paradoxically constitutes an additional mechanism through which to exert punitive control over marginalized women’s lives. This project is an ethnographically grounded mixed-methods study of a criminal diversion program for women in prostitution. Through participation in the diversion program, women who have been charged with prostitution-related offenses may avoid further criminal sanctions by completing a series of therapeutically-based “classes” which provide a psychological intervention aimed at “empowering” them to exit “the life.” Drawing from theories of neoliberal governmentality in criminology and gendered theories of victimhood, I explore the nature and impact of this diversion program on sex workers and victims of sex trafficking using two types of data. I use quantitative analysis of survey data of all approximately 475 clients who have enrolled in the program to establish outcome measures of program efficacy. I also conducted 18 months of ethnographic field work and qualitative interviews with over 50 program clients, staff, and related experts to understand the underlying social processes through which these outcomes are produced. By traditional measures of program efficacy the diversion approach constitutes a “wretched performance” of the therapeutic state (Polsky 1991); only about half (54%) of the women who enroll in the criminal diversion program complete it, and even fewer (35% of those who completed) report having exited prostitution when they do. Marginalized women (including women of color, immigrant women, and transgender women) are both overrepresented in the program and significantly less likely to be able to successfully complete the program.

Existing research on responsibilization details the ways legal and correctional institutions under neoliberalism have offset criminogenic responsibility from government onto community organizations and individual citizens (Garland 1997, Rose 2000, Armstrong 2002) both through enforcing self-reliance and through welfare inaction (Myers 2013). Through offering diversion classes, the community-based organization functions as an example of this type of neoliberal program: it ignores the structural factors which lead many women to work in commercial sex and instead offers a therapeutically-based psychological intervention in an attempt to convince women to exit prostitution without providing any reasonable economic alternatives. In direct contrast, the program also considers all women in prostitution to be victims of commercial sexual exploitation in need of saving. This logic stems from the successful institutionalization of the central claims of the anti-sex trafficking movement: that all women in prostitution (both sex workers and victims of trafficking) are victims in need of rescue. This logic of victimization is in direct opposition to the logic of responsibilization: to be a victim is to not be responsible for one’s circumstances.

I argue this diversion program exists at a fault line between these carceral logics, which provide the moral underpinnings for public policy responses to distinct social problems but are nevertheless co-present in both program ideology and daily practice. I argue these seemingly contradictory logics reinforce one another in order to ultimately create a gendered version of responsibilization through which the state can justify the increased criminalization of women through conferring their status as victims. I find that by virtue of a range of factors, including patterns of arrest, program policies, and access to additional resources the program has disparate impacts on the program’s most marginalized participants.

While scholars have begun to document the role and impacts of responsibilization strategies within contemporary penal rehabilitation, little is understood about the particular form these strategies take for female offenders. Because self-reliance maps neatly onto masculinity, my research reveals the way rhetorics of female helplessness work alongside notions of responsibilization to make the process more palatable when applied to women, revealing the extent to which responsibilization is a fundamentally gendered process. This work also offers a new perspective to longstanding conversations regarding the relationship between medicalization and criminalization and the social control of deviance. This is the first empirical research to critically engage the emerging victim-centered legal approaches to prostitution policy and the first in-depth study of a criminal diversion program for prostitution.

As a University of California Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow, I am embarking on a second research project continuing with my focus on governmentality, gender, and the tension between responsibilization and victimhood. I am conducting a parallel study of a “John’s School,” a court-mandated diversion class for male buyers of sex. This program, which is complimentary to the prostitution diversion program, entails similar tensions for clients of prostitution rendered victimizers. I have secured field site entry and begun conducting preliminary field work. Modeled after DUI classes, the John’s School attempts to shame and scare clients into not reoffending. Based on my preliminary assessment, the program is informed by similar institutional and social movement logics as the prostitution diversion program, pushed forward by a similar group of institutional actors, and yet takes a very different approach with male offenders. The John’s School attempts to prevent a behavior (the purchasing of sex) but does not attempt to rehabilitate the full person, as with prostitution diversion.


Publications

Jungleib, Lillian Taylor. 2018. “Anti-Trafficking and Feminism: Survivors as Movement Activists.” In Jo Reger (ed.) Nevertheless They Persisted: Feminisms and Continued Resistance in the U.S. Women’s Movement. London, UK: Routledge.

Focusing on the women in prostitution, I examine the ways in which women resist, adopt, and deploy the victim status accorded to them in a book chapter (December 2018), “Anti-Trafficking and Feminism: Survivors as Movement Activists,” in Nevertheless They Persisted: Feminisms and Continued Resistance in the U.S. Women’s Movement, edited by Jo Reger, published by Routledge. Based on ethnographic fieldwork and interviews with survivor activists collected as part of the larger research project, I argue that while survivor participation in the contemporary anti-sex trafficking movement is heavily restricted by movement structure and ideology, survivors co-opt the roles provided for them to assert their humanity beyond the role of victim, come out and build solidarity with other survivors, and use their experiences to demand legitimacy as qualified experts to challenge the dominant strategies and goals of the anti-sex trafficking movement. I argue that the substantive contributions of survivor activism are essential to building an inclusive and effective feminist movement against sex trafficking.


Raymond, Geoffrey, Lillian Taylor Jungleib, Don Zimmerman, and Nikki Jones. In Press. “Rules and Policeable Matters: Enforcing the Civil Sidewalk Ordinance for ‘Another First Time.’” In Douglass W. Maynard and John C. Heritage (eds.) Harold Garfinkel: Praxis, Social Order, and the Ethnomoethodology Movement. London, UK: Oxford University Press.

In addition to my work on gender and criminal diversion programs, I served as the project manager for a research team across multiple UC campuses studying policing practices. Funded by a $400,000 grant from the William T. Grant foundation, this multi-year project draws from a data set that includes digitized video of police-civilian encounters and ethnographic interviews with officers from two major metropolitan police departments. Stemming from this larger project, I developed a book chapter that explores the discretionary enforcement of a civil sidewalk ordinance, commonly understood to target chronically homeless citizens. Using a microanalytic approach, my collaborators and I examine the process through which officers and civilians alike orient to tacit agreements governing enforcement of the law. We are also developing papers that use a novel quantitative methodology for analyzing video data to examine the role of suspicion in police-civilian encounters and the relationship between suspicion and provisional status, especially for young black civilians.

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