Life story, prostitution and activism: Challenges and possibilities of research in co-creation
This article discusses the process of writing, which I refer to here as ‘co-creation’, of the life story of Lourdes Barreto, co-founder of the Brazilian Movement of Prostitutes. I intertwine public history and oral history
methodologies with a decolonising feminist epistemology. This theoretical framework made it possible to situate Lourdes’ narratives of prostitution in the North and Northeast of Brazil within the conceptual
fields of agency and resistance. Lourdes guided the fieldwork and helped me redefine how I incorporated my presence into her daily life. In dialogue with her, I sought to conduct a participatory research
project, in which authorities on distinct knowledges were also shared. I refer to the intersection of subjectivities and positionalities between investigator and collaborator as part of an intense process of co-
creation, participation, and negotiation. Co-creation stimulated reflections on ethical and political issues throughout the research process with Lourdes; as the narrator, she was a participant in the process as opposed to an object to be analysed. Similarly, throughout the process of researching prostitution, as a researcher, I became an active member of the movement. The essay includes photographs of the process, alongside reflections on the challenges and particularities around the relationship between researcher and narrator.
Amanda de Mello Calabria (2022) Life story, prostitution and activism: Challenges and possibilities of research in co-creation, Global Public Health, 17:10, 2512-2520, DOI: 10.1080/17441692.2021.2020317