Risk, Poverty, Poncing and the Contradictions of Involvement in Prostitution

  • Joanna Phoenix


Being a woman in contemporary British society is to be actively engaged in the business of ‘risk’ — of negotiating and calculating insecurities, uncertainties, costs, potential harms and benefits. As modernity fractures the old social structures, as the welfare state (ostensibly) provides for ‘basic survival’ and as the rhetoric (and practice) of equality between men and women gains popular support, women are allegedly freed from a life (structured by early industrialisation) of confinement to the home, dependency on male relatives and restricted employment opportunities. Now, equality in education, legislation that prohibits sexual discrimination in the workplace, birth control technologies that permit ‘planned parenthood’ and break the link between sexuality and reproduction, and equal access to financial institutions and financial support (such as being able to have bank accounts and claim welfare benefits without the permission or mediation of men) mean that women have choices. Women are able to choose whether or not to marry, to have children, to work after marriage, to divorce and so on.


Violent Partner Single Mother None None Social Security Benefit Housing Problem 
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Copyright information

© Joanna Phoenix 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joanna Phoenix
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Social and Policy SciencesBath UniversityUK

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