Prostitution, Power and Freedom
by Julia O’Connell Davidson
University of Michigan Press, 1998
Cloth: 978-0-472-09695-4 | Paper: 978-0-472-06695-7
Library of Congress Classification HQ117.D38 1998
Dewey Decimal Classification 306.74

Prostitution, Power and Freedom brings new insights to the ongoing debate among scholars, activists, and others on the controversial subject of prostitution. Sociologist Julia O'Connell Davidson's concise, accessibly-written study is based on wide research from various corners of the world. The study employs a range of theoretical analyses and argues against simplistic explanations of the prostitution phenomenon, showing it to be a complex relationship where economics, power relations, gender, age, class, and "choice" intersect.
The author has conducted an impressive amount of research in nine countries, including conversations with male and female sex tourists, adult and child prostitutes, procurers, and clients. Through her research, O'Connell Davidson demonstrates the complexity of prostitution, arguing that it is not simply an effect of male oppression and violence or insatiable sexual needs, nor is it an unproblematic economic encounter. The book provides a sophisticated explanation of the economic and political inequalities underlying prostitution, but also shows that while prostitution necessarily implies certain freedoms for the clients, the amount of freedom experienced by individual prostititutes varies greatly.
This highly accessible book will be of great interest to those in gender and women's studies, sexuality and cultural studies, the sociology of work and organizations, and social policy. General readers will also appreciate having new ways of thinking about this age-old social phenomenon.
Julia O'Connell Davidson is Lecturer in Sociology, University of Leicester.

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