Contemporary anti-prostitution campaigns focus on curtailing “the demand” by punishing sexual service consumers. One component of this approach is a diversion program, or “john school,” offered to those arrested for purchasing prostitution. This ethnography focuses upon the Nashville John School (NJS), which is comprised of informational presentations that educate johns about the risks associated with prostitution. I examine how the NJS utilizes elements of John Braithwaite's (1989) “reintegrative shaming” as a technique of affective governance designed to discipline participants into docile subjects, whose sexual practices comport with an ideal envisioned by the state. Using Nathan Harris' framework of shame management, I discuss participant responses as expressions of shame-guilt, embarrassment-exposure, or unresolved shame. Such categorizations illustrate the extent to which the affective appeals of program presenters are taken up or resisted. At the same time, I consider the type of subject the NJS seeks to produce: an individual whose sexual practices reside within a heteronormative marriage. I conclude that this mode of interpellating subjects into an idealized gender binary must be reconsidered, especially in light of diverse and emergent understandings of gender, sexuality, and family formation.

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