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Transgressing Sex Work: Ethnography, Film and Fiction

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Part of the Critical Criminological Perspectives book series (CCRP)

Abstract

The first quotation by Alexandre Parent-Duchâtelet in 1836 illuminates the fact that prostitution is accepted by bourgeois society (selling sex is not illegal) but the prostitute, the whore is not accepted, she is ‘other’ perceived as immoral, a danger, a threat to ‘normal’ femininity and, as a consequence suffers social exclusion, marginalisation and ‘whore stigma’. On the other hand, the second quotation illustrates that there are deeply embedded economic and sociopolitical dynamics involved in explaining and understanding prostitution. Like the ‘criminal women’ discussed in Chapter 3, sex workers occupy an anomalous cultural position, and selling sex is much more complex than either a question of morality/immorality or economics.

Keywords

  • Situational Crime Prevention
  • Cultural Criminologist
  • Capitalist Exchange
  • Gender Body
  • Cultural Text

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Prostitutes are as inevitable in a metropolis as sewers, cesspits and rubbish tips; the civil authority should treat the one as it does the other — its duty is to supervise them, to reduce the dangers inherent in them as far as possible, and to this end to hide them and relegate them to the darkest corners; in short, render their presence as inconspicuous as possible.

Alexandre Parent-Duchâtelet, speaking about Prostitution in the city of Paris in 1836, cited in John (1994, pp. 44–8)

It is safe to say that most sex workers are not in the industry for the sex. Specifically it is fast money that pulls people into the industry and often keeps them there even where there are other alternatives.

Willman cited in Ditmore, Levy and Willman (2010, p. 143)

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© 2012 Maggie O’Neill and Lizzie Seal

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O’Neill, M., Seal, L. (2012). Transgressing Sex Work: Ethnography, Film and Fiction. In: Transgressive Imaginations. Critical Criminological Perspectives. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230369061_4

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