Brokered Subjects digs deep into the accepted narratives of sex trafficking to reveal the troubling assumptions that have shaped both right- and left-wing agendas around sexual violence. Drawing on years of in-depth fieldwork, Elizabeth Bernstein sheds light not only on trafficking but also on the broader structures that meld the ostensible pursuit of liberation with contemporary techniques of power. Rather than any meaningful commitment to the safety of sex workers, Bernstein argues, what lies behind our current vision of trafficking victims is a transnational mix of putatively humanitarian militaristic interventions, feel-good capitalism, and what she terms carceral feminism: a feminism compatible with police batons.
Are sex workers victims, criminals, or just trying to make a living? Over the last five years, public policy and academic discourse have moved from criminalization of sex workers to victim-based understanding, shaped by human trafficking. While most research focuses on macro-level policies and theories, less is known about the on-the-ground perspectives of people whose lives are impacted by sex work, including attorneys, social workers, police officers, probation officers, and sex workers themselves.
Challenging Perspectives on Street-Based Sex Work brings the voices of lower-echelon sex workers and those individuals charged with policy development and enforcement into conversation with one another. Chapters highlight some of the current approaches to sex work, such as diversion courts, trafficking task forces, law enforcement assisted diversion and decriminalization. It also examines how sex workers navigate seldom-discussed social phenomenon like gentrification, pregnancy, imperialism, and being subjects of research. Through dialogue, our authors reveal the complex reality of engaging in and regulating sex work in the United States and through American aid abroad.
Contributors include: Aneesa A. Baboolal, Marie Bailey-Kloch, Mira Baylson, Nachale “Hua” Boonyapisomparn, Belinda Carter, Jennifer Cobbina, Ruby Corado, Eileen Corcoran, Kate D’Adamo, Edith Kinney, Margot Le Neveu, Martin A. Monto, Linda Muraresku, Erin O’Brien, Sharon Oselin. Catherine Paquette, Dan Steele, Chase Strangio, Signy Toquinto, and the editors.
Women’s agency: Is it a matter of an individual’s capacity for autonomy? Or of the social conditions that facilitate freedom? Combining theoretical and empirical perspectives, Carisa R. Showden investigates what exactly makes an agent and how that agency influences the ways women make inherently sensitive and difficult choices—specifically in instances of domestic violence, assisted reproduction, and sex work.
In Showden’s analysis, women’s agency emerges as an individual and social construct, rooted in concrete experience, complex and changing over time. She traces the development and deployment of agency, illustrating how it plays out in the messy workings of imperfect lives. In a series of case studies, she considers women within situations of intimate partner violence, reproductive decision making, and sex work such as prostitution and pornography. Each narrative offers insight into how women articulate their self-understanding and political needs in relation to the pressures they confront.
Showden’s understanding of women’s agency ultimately leads her to review possible policy and legal interventions that could improve the conditions within which agency develops and that could positively enhance women’s ability to increase and exercise their political and personal options.
From tabloid exposes of child prostitution to the grisly tales of Jack the Ripper, narratives of sexual danger pulsated through Victorian London. Expertly blending social history and cultural criticism, Judith Walkowitz shows how these narratives reveal the complex dramas of power, politics, and sexuality that were being played out in late nineteenth-century Britain, and how they influenced the language of politics, journalism, and fiction.
Victorian London was a world where long-standing traditions of class and gender were challenged by a range of public spectacles, mass media scandals, new commercial spaces, and a proliferation of new sexual categories and identities. In the midst of this changing culture, women of many classes challenged the traditional privileges of elite males and
asserted their presence in the public domain.
An important catalyst in this conflict, argues Walkowitz, was W. T. Stead's widely read 1885 article about child prostitution. Capitalizing on the uproar caused by the piece and the volatile political climate of the time, women spoke of sexual danger, articulating their own grievances against men, inserting themselves into the public discussion of sex to an unprecedented extent, and gaining new entree to public spaces and journalistic practices. The ultimate manifestation of class anxiety and gender antagonism came in 1888 with the tabloid tales of Jack the Ripper. In between, there were quotidien stories of sexual possibility and urban adventure, and Walkowitz examines them all, showing how women were not simply figures in the imaginary landscape of male spectators, but also central actors in the stories of metropolotin life that reverberated in courtrooms, learned journals, drawing rooms, street corners, and in the letters columns of the daily press.
A model of cultural history, this ambitious book will stimulate and enlighten readers across a broad range of interests.
Across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, legislators in Bombay passed a series of repetitive laws seeking to control prostitution. During the same time, Bombay’s sex industry grew vast in scale. Ashwini Tambe explores why these remarkably similar laws failed to achieve their goal and questions the actual purpose of such lawmaking.
Against the backdrop of the industrial growth of Bombay, Codes of Misconduct examines the relationship between lawmaking, law enforcement, and sexual commerce. Ashwini Tambe challenges linear readings of how laws create effects and demonstrates that the regulation and criminalization of prostitution were not contrasting approaches to prostitution but different modes of state coercion. By analyzing legal prohibitions as productive forces, she also probes the pornographic imagination of the colonial state, showing how regulations made sexual commerce more visible but rendered the prostitute silent.
Codes of Misconduct engages with debates on state control of sex work and traces how a colonial legacy influences contemporary efforts to contain the spread of HIV and decriminalize sex workers in India today. In doing so, Tambe’s work not only adds to our understanding of empire, sexuality, and the law, it also sheds new light on the long history of Bombay’s transnational links and the social worlds of its underclasses.
"This history is . . . the first fully-fleshed story of African Nairobi in all of its complexity which foregrounds African experiences. Given the overwhelming white dominance in the written sources, it is a remarkable achievement."—Claire Robertson, International Journal of African Historical Studies
"White's book . . . takes a unique approach to a largely unexplored aspect of African History. It enhances our understanding of African social history, political economy, and gender studies. It is a book that deserves to be widely read."—Elizabeth Schmidt, American Historical Review
Crossing over the Line describes the folly of the Mann Act of 1910—a United States law which made travel from one state to another by a man and a woman with the intent of committing an immoral act a major crime. Spawned by a national wave of "white slave trade" hysteria, the Act was created by the Congress of the United States as a weapon against forced prostitution.
This book is the first history of the Mann Act's often bizarre career, from its passage to the amendment that finally laid it low. In David J. Langum's hands, the story of the Act becomes an entertaining cautionary tale about the folly of legislating private morality.
Langum recounts the colorful details of numerous court cases to show how enforcement of the Act mirrored changes in America's social attitudes. Federal prosecutors became masters in the selective use of the Act: against political opponents of the government, like Charlie Chaplin; against individuals who eluded other criminal charges, like the Capone mobster "Machine Gun" Jack McGurn; and against black men, like singer Chuck Berry and boxer Jack Johnson, who dared to consort with white women. The Act engendered a thriving blackmail industry and was used by women like Frank Lloyd Wright's wife to extort favorable divorce settlements.
"Crossing over the Line is a work of scholarship as wrought by a civil libertarian, and the text . . . sizzles with the passion of an ardent believer in real liberty under reasonable laws."—Jonathan Kirsch, Los Angeles Times
Is a native-born tour guide who has sex with tourists—in exchange for dinner or gifts or cash—merely a prostitute or gigolo? What if the tourist continues to send gifts or money to the tour guide after returning home? As this original and provocative book demonstrates, when it comes to sex—and the effects of capitalism and globalization—nothing is as simple as it might seem.
Based on ten years of research, Economies of Desire is the first ethnographic study to examine the erotic underpinnings of transnational tourism. It offers startling insights into the commingling of sex, intimacy, and market forces in Cuba and the Dominican Republic, two nations where tourism has had widespread effects. In her multi-layered analyses, Amalia Cabezas reconceptualizes our understandings of informal economies (particularly “affective economies”), “sex workers,” and “sexual tourism,” and she helps us appreciate how money, sex and love are intertwined within the structure of globalizing capitalism.
In recent years, a number of classical scholars have turned their attention to prostitution in the ancient world. Close examination of the social and legal position of Roman meretrices and Greek hetairai have enriched our understanding of ancient sexual relationships and the status of women in these societies. These studies have focused, however, almost exclusively on the legal and literary evidence.
McGinn approaches the issues from a new direction, by studying the physical venues that existed for the sale of sex, in the context of the Roman economy. Combining textual and material evidence, he provides a detailed study of Roman brothels and other venues of venal sex (from imperial palaces and privates houses to taverns, circuses, and back alleys) focusing on their forms, functions, and urban locations.
The book covers the central period of Roman history, roughly from 200 B.C. to A.D. 250. It will especially interest social and legal historians of the ancient world, and students of gender, sexuality, and the family.
Thomas A. J. McGinn is Associate Professor of Classical Studies at Vanderbilt University.
Alison Bass weaves the true stories of sex workers with the latest research on prostitution into a gripping journalistic account of how women (and some men) navigate a culture that routinely accepts the implicit exchange of sex for money, status, or even a good meal, but imposes heavy penalties on those who make such bargains explicit. Along the way, Bass examines why an increasing number of middle-class white women choose to become sex workers and explores how prostitution has become a thriving industry in the twenty-first-century global economy. Situating her book in American history more broadly, she also discusses the impact of the sexual revolution, the rise of the Nevada brothels, and the growing war on sex trafficking after 9/11. Drawing on recent studies that show lower rates of violence and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, in regions where adult prostitution is legal and regulated, Bass makes a powerful case for decriminalizing sex work. Through comparisons of the impact of criminalization vs. decriminalization in other countries, her book offers strategies for making prostitution safer for American sex workers and the communities in which they dwell. This riveting assessment of how U.S. anti-prostitution laws harm the public health and safety of sex workers and other citizens—and affect larger societal attitudes toward women—will interest feminists, sociologists, lawyers, health-care professionals, and policy makers. The book also will appeal to anyone with an interest in American history and our society’s evolving attitudes toward sexuality and marriage.
The story of sex tourism in the Gringo Gulch neighborhood of San José, Costa Rica could be easily cast as the exploitation of poor local women by privileged North American men—men who are in a position to take advantage of the vast geopolitical inequalities that make Latin American women into suppliers of low-cost sexual labor. But in Gringo Gulch, Megan Rivers-Moore tells a more nuanced story, demonstrating that all the actors intimately entangled in the sex tourism industry—sex workers, sex tourists, and the state—use it as a strategy for getting ahead.
Rivers-Moore situates her ethnography at the intersections of gender, race, class, and national dimensions in the sex industry. Instead of casting sex workers as hapless victims and sex tourists as neoimperialist racists, she reveals each group as involved in a complicated process of class mobility that must be situated within the sale and purchase of leisure and sex. These interactions operate within an almost entirely unregulated but highly competitive market beyond the reach of the state—bringing a distinctly neoliberal cast to the market. Throughout the book, Rivers-Moore introduces us to remarkable characters—Susan, a mother of two who doesn’t regret her career of sex work; Barry, a teacher and father of two from Virginia who travels to Costa Rica to escape his loveless, sexless marriage; Nancy, a legal assistant in the Department of Labor who is shocked to find out that prostitution is legal and still unregulated. Gringo Gulch is a fascinating and groundbreaking look at sex tourism, Latin America, and the neoliberal state.
This updated and revised edition of Hell's Belles takes the reader on a soundly researched, well-documented, and amusing journey back to the early days of Denver. Clark Secrest details the evolution of Denver's prostitution, the gambling, the drug addicts, and the corrupt politicians and police who, palms outstretched, allowed it all to happen. Also included in Hell's Belles is a biography of one of Denver's original police officers, Sam Howe, upon whose crime studies the book is based.
The popular veneer of Denver's present-day Market Street - its fancy bars, posh restaurants, and Coors Field - is stripped away to reveal the street's former incarnation: a mecca of loose morals entrenched in prostitution, liquor, and money. Hell's Belles examines the neglected topics of vice and crime in Denver and utilizes a unique and invaluable historic source - the scrapbooks of Detective Sam Howe.
Feminists, socialists, Afro-Puerto Rican activists, and elite politicians join laundresses, prostitutes, and dissatisfied wives in populating the pages of Imposing Decency. Through her analyses of Puerto Rican anti-prostitution campaigns, attempts at reforming marriage, and working-class ideas about free love, Eileen J. Suárez Findlay exposes the race-related double standards of sexual norms and practices in Puerto Rico between 1870 and 1920, the period that witnessed Puerto Rico’s shift from Spanish to U.S. colonialism. In showing how political projects and alliances in Puerto Rico were affected by racially contingent definitions of “decency” and “disreputability,” Findlay argues that attempts at moral reform and the state’s repression of “sexually dangerous” women were weapons used in batttles between elite and popular, American and Puerto Rican, and black and white. Based on a thorough analysis of popular and elite discourses found in both literature and official archives, Findlay contends that racialized sexual norms and practices were consistently a central component in the construction of social and political orders. The campaigns she analyzes include an attempt at moral reform by elite male liberals and a movement designed to enhance the family and cleanse urban space that ultimately translated into repression against symbollically darkened prostitutes. Findlay also explores how U.S. officials strove to construct a new colonial order by legalizing divorce and how feminist, labor, and Afro-Puerto Rican political demands escalated after World War I, often focusing on the rehabilitation and defense of prostitutes. Imposing Decency forces us to rethink previous interpretations of political chronologies as well as reigning conceptualizations of both liberalism and the early working-class in Puerto Rico. Her work will appeal to scholars with an interest in Puerto Rican or Latin American studies, sexuality and national identity, women in Latin America, and general women’s studies.
Impure Migration investigates the period from the 1890s until the 1930s, when prostitution was a legal institution in Argentina and the international community knew its capital city Buenos Aires as the center of the sex industry. At the same time, pogroms and anti-Semitic discrimination left thousands of Eastern European Jewish people displaced, without the resources required to immigrate. For many Jewish women, participation in prostitution was one of very few ways they could escape the limited options in their home countries, and Jewish men facilitate their transit and the organization of their work and social lives. Instead of marginalizing this story or reading it as a degrading chapter in Latin American Jewish history, Impure Migration interrogates a complicated social landscape to reveal that sex work is in fact a critical part of the histories of migration, labor, race, and sexuality.
For many years, the interrelated histories of prostitution and cities have perked the ears of urban scholars, but until now the history of urban sex work has dealt only in passing with questions of race. In I’ve Got to Make My Livin’, Cynthia Blair explores African American women’s sex work in Chicago during the decades of some of the city’s most explosive growth, expanding not just our view of prostitution, but also of black women’s labor, the Great Migration, black and white reform movements, and the emergence of modern sexuality.
Focusing on the notorious sex districts of the city’s south side, Blair paints a complex portrait of black prostitutes as conscious actors and historical agents; prostitution, she argues here, was both an arena of exploitation and abuse, as well as a means of resisting middle-class sexual and economic norms. Blair ultimately illustrates just how powerful these norms were, offering stories about the struggles that emerged among black and white urbanites in response to black women’s increasing visibility in the city’s sex economy. Through these powerful narratives, I’ve Got to Make My Livin’ reveals the intersecting racial struggles and sexual anxieties that underpinned the celebration of Chicago as the quintessentially modern twentieth-century city.
Julia Roberts played a prostitute, famously, in Pretty Woman. So did Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver, Jane Fonda in Klute, Anna Karina in Vivre sa vie, Greta Garbo in Anna Christie, and Charlize Theron, who won an Academy Award for Monster. This engaging and generously illustrated study explores the depiction of female prostitute characters and prostitution in world cinema, from the silent era to the present-day industry. From the woman with control over her own destiny to the woman who cannot get away from her pimp, Russell Campbell shows the diverse representations of prostitutes in film.
Marked Women classifies fifteen recurrent character types and three common narratives, many of them with their roots in male fantasy. The “Happy Hooker,” for example, is the liberated woman whose only goal is to give as much pleasure as she receives, while the “Avenger,” a nightmare of the male imagination, represents the threat of women taking retribution for all the oppression they have suffered at the hands of men. The “Love Story,” a common narrative, represents the prostitute as both heroine and anti-heroine, while “Condemned to Death” allows men to manifest, in imagination only, their hostility toward women by killing off the troubled prostitute in an act of cathartic violence.
The figure of the woman whose body is available at a price has fascinated and intrigued filmmakers and filmgoers since the very beginning of cinema, but the manner of representation has also been highly conflicted and fiercely contested. Campbell explores the cinematic prostitute as a figure shaped by both reactionary thought and feminist challenges to the norm, demonstrating how the film industry itself is split by fascinating contradictions.
Despite continued public and legislative concern about sex trafficking across international borders, the actual lives of the individuals involved—and, more importantly, the decisions that led them to sex work—are too often overlooked. With Mobile Orientations, Nicola Mai shows that, far from being victims of a system beyond their control, many contemporary sex workers choose their profession as a means to forge a path toward fulfillment.
Using a bold blend of personal narrative and autoethnography, Mai provides intimate portrayals of sex workers from sites including the Balkans, the Maghreb, and West Africa who decided to sell sex as the means to achieve a better life. Mai explores the contrast between how migrants understand themselves and their work and how humanitarian and governmental agencies conceal their stories, often unwittingly, by addressing them all as helpless victims. The culmination of two decades of research, Mobile Orientations sheds new light on the desires and ambitions of migrant sex workers across the world.
Published in 1912 on the heels of Twenty Years at Hull-House and at the height of Jane Addams's popularity, A New Conscience and an Ancient Evil assesses the vulnerability of the rural and immigrant working-class girls who moved to Chicago and fell prey to the sexual bartering of what was known as the white slave trade.
Addams offers lurid accounts–-drawn from the records of Chicago's Juvenile Protection Association–-of young women coerced into lives of prostitution by men who lurked outside hotels and sweatshops. Because they lacked funds for proper recreation, Addams argues, poor and socially marginalized women were susceptible to sexual slavery, and without radical social change they would perhaps be "almost as free" as young men. In addition to promoting higher wages and better living conditions, Addams suggests that a longer period of public education for young women would deter them from the dangers of city life.
Despite its appeal to middle–class readers eager for tales of sexual excess and the rape of innocence, the press and prominent intellectuals criticized A New Conscience and an Ancient Evil for being disproportionately hysterical to its philosophical weight. Katherine Joslin's introduction considers the controversial reactions to the book and the circumstances of its publication. Behind the sensationalism of the narratives, Joslin locates themes including the commodification of sex and the importance of marriage for young women.
Jessica R. Pliley Harvard University Press, 2014 Library of Congress HQ125.U6P62 2014 | Dewey Decimal 364.153409730904
Jessica Pliley links the crusade against sex trafficking to the FBI’s growth into a formidable law agency that cooperated with states and municipalities in pursuit of offenders. The Bureau intervened in squabbles on behalf of men intent on monitoring their wives and daughters and imprisoned prostitutes while seldom prosecuting their male clients.
Prostitutes and Courtesans in the Ancient World explores the implications of sex-for-pay across a broad span of time, from ancient Mesopotamia to the early Christian period. In ancient times, although they were socially marginal, prostitutes connected with almost every aspect of daily life. They sat in brothels and walked the streets; they paid taxes and set up dedications in religious sanctuaries; they appeared as characters—sometimes admirable, sometimes despicable—on the comic stage and in the law courts; they lived lavishly, consorting with famous poets and politicians; and they participated in otherwise all-male banquets and drinking parties, where they aroused jealousy among their anxious lovers.
The chapters in this volume examine a wide variety of genres and sources, from legal and religious tracts to the genres of lyric poetry, love elegy, and comic drama to the graffiti scrawled on the walls of ancient Pompeii. These essays reflect the variety and vitality of the debates engendered by the last three decades of research by confronting the ambiguous terms for prostitution in ancient languages, the difficulty of distinguishing the prostitute from the woman who is merely promiscuous or adulterous, the question of whether sacred or temple prostitution actually existed in the ancient Near East and Greece, and the political and social implications of literary representations of prostitutes and courtesans.
Officially confined to red-light districts, brothels in British India were tolerated until the 1920s. Yet, by this time, prostitution reform campaigns led by Indian, imperial, and international bodies were combining the social scientific insights of sexology and hygiene with the moral condemnations of sexual slavery and human trafficking. These reformers identified the brothel as exacerbating rather than containing "corrupting prostitutes" and the threat of venereal diseases, and therefore encouraged the suppression of brothels rather than their urban segregation. In this book, Stephen Legg tracks the complex spatial politics surrounding brothels in the interwar period at multiple scales, including the local, regional, national, imperial, and global. Campaigns and state policies against brothels did not just operate at different scales but made scales themselves, forging new urban, provincial, colonial, and international formations. In so doing, they also remade the boundary between the state and the social, through which the prostitute was, Legg concludes, "civilly abandoned."
"Prostitution in Medieval Society, a monograph about Languedoc between the twelfth and sixteenth centuries, is also much more than that: it is a compelling narrative about the social construction of sexuality."
After the transcontinental railroad opened Utah to large-scale emigration and market capitalism, hundreds of women in Salt Lake City began to sell sex for a living, and a few earned small fortunes. Businessmen and politicians developed a financial stake in prostitution, which was regulated by both Mormon and gentile officials. In this book, Jeffrey Nichols examines how prostitution became a focal point in the moral contest between Mormons and gentiles and aided in the construction of gender systems, moral standards, and the city's physical and economic landscapes.
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.
In the 1800s, urban development efforts modernized Paris and encouraged the creation of brothels, boulevards, cafés, dancehalls, and even public urinals. However, complaints also arose regarding an apparent increase in public sexual activity, and the appearance of “individuals of both sexes with depraved morals” in these spaces. Andrew Israel Ross’s illuminating study, Public City/Public Sex, chronicles the tension between the embourgeoisement and democratization of urban culture in nineteenth-century Paris and the commercialization and commodification of a public sexual culture, the emergence of new sex districts, as well as the development of gay and lesbian subcultures.
Public City/Public Sex examines how the notion that male sexual desire required suitable outlets shaped urban policing and development. Ross traces the struggle to control sex in public and argues that it was the very effort to police the city that created new opportunities for women who sold sex and men who sought sex with other men. Placing public sex at the center of urban history, Ross shows how those who used public spaces played a central role in defining the way the city was understood.
In Reforming Women, Lisa Shaver locates the emergence of a distinct women’s rhetoric and feminist consciousness in the American Female Moral Reform Society. Established in 1834, the society took aim at prostitution, brothels, and the lascivious behavior increasingly visible in America’s industrializing cities. In particular, female moral reformers contested the double standard that overlooked promiscuous behavior in men while harshly condemning women for the same offense. Their ardent rhetoric resonated with women across the country. With its widely-read periodical and auxiliary societies representing more than 50,000 women, the American Female Moral Reform Society became the first national reform movement organized, led, and comprised solely by women.
Drawing on an in-depth examination of the group’s periodical, Reforming Women delineates essential rhetorical tactics including women’s strategic use of gender, the periodical press, anger, presence, auxiliary societies, and institutional rhetoric—tactics women’s reform efforts would use throughout the nineteenth century. Almost two centuries later, female moral reformers’ rhetoric resonates today as our society continues to struggle with different moral expectations for men and women.
The aftermath of Algeria’s revolutionary war for independence coincided with the sexual revolution in France, and in this book Todd Shepard argues that these two movements are inextricably linked.
Sex, France, and Arab Men is a history of how and why—from the upheavals of French Algeria in 1962 through the 1970s—highly sexualized claims about Arabs were omnipresent in important public French discussions, both those that dealt with sex and those that spoke of Arabs. Shepard explores how the so-called sexual revolution took shape in a France profoundly influenced by the ongoing effects of the Algerian revolution. Shepard’s analysis of both events alongside one another provides a frame that renders visible the ways that the fight for sexual liberation, usually explained as an American and European invention, developed out of the worldwide anticolonial movement of the mid-twentieth century.
For nearly a decade, Brazil has surpassed Thailand as the world's premier sex tourism destination. As the first full-length ethnography of sex tourism in Brazil, this pioneering study treats sex tourism as a complex and multidimensional phenomenon that involves a range of activities and erotic connections, from sex work to romantic transnational relationships. Erica Lorraine Williams explores sex tourism in the Brazilian state of Bahia from the perspectives of foreign tourists, tourism industry workers, sex workers who engage in liaisons with foreigners, and Afro-Brazilian men and women who contend with foreigners' stereotypical assumptions about their licentiousness. She shows how the Bahian state strategically exploits the touristic desire for exotic culture by appropriating an eroticized blackness and commodifying the Afro-Brazilian culture in order to sell Bahia to foreign travelers.
In this volume the borders of North America serve as central locations for examining the consequences of globalization as it intersects with hegemonic spaces and ideas, national territorialism, and opportunities for—or restrictions on—mobility. The authors of the essays in this collection warn against falling victim to the myth of nation-states engaging in a valiant struggle against transnational flows of crime and vice. They take a long historical perspective, from Mesoamerican counterfeits of cacao beans used as currency to cattle rustling to human trafficking; from Canada’s and Mexico’s different approaches to the illegality of liquor in the United States during Prohibition to contemporary case studies of the transnational movement of people, crime, narcotics, vice, and even ideas.
By studying the historical flows of contraband and vice across North American borders, the contributors seek to bring a greater understanding of borderlanders, the actual agents of historical change who often remain on the periphery of most historical analyses that focus on the state or on policy.
To examine the political, economic, and social shifts resulting from the transnational movement of goods, people, and ideas, these contributions employ the analytical categories of race, class, modernity, and gender that underlie this evolution. Chapters focus on the ways power relations created opportunities for engaging in “deviance,” thus questioning the constructs of economic reality versus concepts of criminal behavior. Looking through the lens of transnational flows of contraband and vice, the authors develop a new understanding of nation, immigration, modernization, globalization, consumer society, and border culture.
Street Corner Secrets challenges widespread notions of sex work in India by examining solicitation in three spaces within the city of Mumbai that are seldom placed within the same analytic frame—brothels, streets, and public day-wage labor markets (nakas), where sexual commerce may be solicited discretely alongside other income-generating activities. Focusing on women who migrated to Mumbai from rural, economically underdeveloped areas within India, Svati P. Shah argues that selling sexual services is one of a number of ways women working as laborers may earn a living, demonstrating that sex work, like day labor, is a part of India's vast informal economy. Here, various means of earning—legitimized or stigmatized, legal or illegal—overlap or exist in close proximity to one another, shaping a narrow field of livelihood options that women navigate daily. In the course of this rich ethnography, Shah discusses policing practices, migrants' access to housing and water, the idea of public space, critiques of states and citizenship, and the discursive location of violence within debates on sexual commerce. Throughout, the book analyzes the epistemology of prostitution, and the silences and secrets that constitute the discourse of sexual commerce on Mumbai's streets.
Sugar Girls and Seamen illuminates the shadowy world of dockside prostitution in South Africa, focusing on the women of Cape Town and Durban who sell their hospitality to foreign sailors.
Dockside “sugar girls” work at one of the busiest cultural intersections in the world. Through their continual interactions with foreign seamen, they become major traffickers in culture, ideas, languages, styles, goods, currencies, genes, and diseases. Many learn the seamen’s languages, develop emotional relationships with them, have their babies, and become entangled in vast webs of connection. Henry Trotter argues that these South African women are the ultimate cosmopolitans, the unsung sirens of globalization.
Based on research at the seamen’s nightclubs, plus countless interviews with sugar girls, sailors, club owners, cabbies, bouncers, and barmaids, this book provides a comprehensive account of dockside prostitution at the southern tip of Africa. Through stories, analysis, and firsthand experiences, it reveals this gritty world in all its raw vitality and fragile humanity. Sugar Girls and Seamen is simultaneously racy and light, critical and profound.
Generations of social thinkers have assumed that access to legitimate paid employment and a decline in the ‘double standard’ would eliminate the reasons behind women’s participation in prostitution. Yet in both the developing world and in postindustrial cities of the West, sexual commerce has continued to flourish, diversifying along technological, spatial, and social lines. In this deeply engaging and theoretically provocative study, Elizabeth Bernstein examines the social features that undergird the expansion and diversification of commercialized sex, demonstrating the ways that postindustrial economic and cultural formations have spawned rapid and unforeseen changes in the forms, meanings, and spatial organization of sexual labor.
Drawing upon dynamic and innovative research with sex workers, their clients, and state actors, Bernstein argues that in cities such as San Francisco, Stockholm, and Amstersdam, the nature of what is purchased in commercial sexual encounters is also new. Rather than the expedient exchange of cash for sexual relations, what sex workers are increasingly paid to offer their clients is an erotic experience premised upon the performance of authentic interpersonal connection. As such, contemporary sex markets are emblematic of a cultural moment in which the boundaries between intimacy and commerce—and between public life and private—have been radically redrawn. Not simply a compelling exploration of the changing landscape of sex-work, Temporarily Yours ultimately lays bare the intimate intersections of political economy, desire, and culture.
"Barbara M. Hobson . . . makes a compelling case for the reform of prostitution policy in . . . Uneasy Virtue. [This volume] demonstrates an effective analytical approach to understanding public policy and its impact on prostitution policy. . . .Uneasy Virtue proves particularly relevant today as right wing groups begin to guide discourse and influence policy around reproductive rights, sexuality and the future of gender equality. As Hobson proposes, the reform of prostitution polciy must be viewed in the broader context of the political and economic struggles to emancipate women and thereby create a more rational society."—Samuel Suchowlecky, Commentaries
Unfinished Gestures presents the social and cultural history of courtesans in South India who are generally called devadasis, focusing on their encounters with colonial modernity in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Following a hundred years of vociferous social reform, including a 1947 law that criminalized their lifestyles, the women in devadasis communities contend with severe social stigma and economic and cultural disenfranchisement. Adroitly combining ethnographic fieldwork with historical research, Davesh Soneji provides a comprehensive portrait of these marginalized women and unsettles received ideas about relations among them, the aesthetic roots of their performances, and the political efficacy of social reform in their communities.
Poignantly narrating the history of these women, Soneji argues for the recognition of aesthetics and performance as a key form of subaltern self-presentation and self-consciousness. Ranging over courtly and private salon performances of music and dance by devadasis in the nineteenth century, the political mobilization of devadasis identity in the twentieth century, and the post-reform lives of women in these communities today, Unfinished Gestures charts the historical fissures that lie beneath cultural modernity in South India.
"This book will make a valuable contribution to the field of German history, as well as the histories of gender and sexuality. The argument that Weimar feminism did bring about tangible gains for women needs to be made, and Roos has done so convincingly."
---Julia Sneeringer, Queens College
Until 1927, Germany had a system of state-regulated prostitution, under which only those prostitutes who submitted to regular health checks and numerous other restrictions on their personal freedom were tolerated by the police. Male clients of prostitutes were not subject to any controls. The decriminalization of prostitution in 1927 resulted from important postwar gains in women's rights; yet this change---while welcomed by feminists, Social Democrats, and liberals—also mobilized powerful conservative resistance. In the early 1930s, the right-wing backlash against liberal gender reforms like the 1927 prostitution law played a fateful role in the downfall of the Weimar Republic and the rise of Nazism.
Weimar through the Lens of Gender combines the political history of early twentieth-century Germany with analytical perspectives derived from the fields of gender studies and the history of sexuality. The book's argument will be of interest to a broad readership: specialists in the fields of gender studies and the history of sexuality, as well as historians and general readers interested in Weimar and Nazi Germany.
Julia Roos is Assistant Professor of History at Indiana University, Bloomington.
Jacket art: "Hamburg, vermutlich St. Pauli, 1920er–30er Jahre," photographer unknown, s/w-Fotografie. (Courtesy of the Museum für Hamburgische Geschichte.)
In locations around the world, sex tourism is a booming business. What's Love Got to Do with It? is an in-depth examination of the motivations of workers, clients, and others connected to the sex tourism business in Sosúa, a town on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic. Denise Brennan considers why Dominican and Haitian women move to Sosúa to pursue sex work and describes how sex tourists, primarily Europeans, come to Sosúa to buy sex cheaply and live out racialized fantasies. For the sex workers, Brennan explains, the sex trade is more than a means of survival—it is an advancement strategy that hinges on their successful “performance” of love. Many of these women seek to turn a commercialized sexual transaction into a long-term relationship that could lead to marriage, migration, and a way out of poverty.
Illuminating the complex world of Sosúa’s sex business in rich detail, Brennan draws on extensive interviews not only with sex workers and clients, but also with others who facilitate and benefit from the sex trade. She weaves these voices into an analysis of Dominican economic and migration histories to consider the opportunities—or lack thereof—available to poor Dominican women. She shows how these women, local actors caught in a web of global economic relations, try to take advantage of the foreign men who are in Sosúa to take advantage of them. Through her detailed study of the lives and working conditions of the women in Sosúa’s sex trade, Brennan raises important questions about women’s power, control, and opportunities in a globalized economy.
Breaking new ground in the understanding of sexuality's complex relationship to colonialism, When Sex Threatened the State illuminates the attempts at regulating prostitution in colonial Nigeria.
As Saheed Aderinto shows, British colonizers saw prostitution as an African form of sexual primitivity and a problem to be solved as part of imperialism's "civilizing mission". He details the Nigerian response to imported sexuality laws and the contradictory ways both African and British reformers advocated for prohibition or regulation of prostitution. Tracing the tensions within diverse groups of colonizers and the colonized, he reveals how wrangling over prostitution camouflaged the negotiating of separate issues that threatened the social, political, and sexual ideologies of Africans and Europeans alike.
The first book-length project on sexuality in early twentieth century Nigeria, WhenSex Threatened the State combines the study of a colonial demimonde with an urban history of Lagos and a look at government policy to reappraise the history of Nigerian public life.
During the early twentieth century, individuals and organizations from across the political spectrum launched a sustained effort to eradicate forced prostitution, commonly known as "white slavery." White Slave Crusades is the first comparative study to focus on how these anti-vice campaigns also resulted in the creation of a racial hierarchy in the United States.
Focusing on the intersection of race, gender, and sex in the antiprostitution campaigns, Brian Donovan analyzes the reactions of native-born whites to new immigrant groups in Chicago, to African Americans in New York City, and to Chinese immigrants in San Francisco. Donovan shows how reformers employed white slavery narratives of sexual danger to clarify the boundaries of racial categories, allowing native-born whites to speak of a collective "us" as opposed to a "them." These stories about forced prostitution provided an emotionally powerful justification for segregation, as well as other forms of racial and sexual boundary maintenance in urban America.
With Respect to Sex is an intimate ethnography that offers a provocative account of sexual and social difference in India. The subjects of this study are hijras or the "third sex" of India—individuals who occupy a unique, liminal space between male and female, sacred and profane.
Hijras are men who sacrifice their genitalia to a goddess in return for the power to confer fertility on newlyweds and newborn children, a ritual role they are respected for, at the same time as they are stigmatized for their ambiguous sexuality. By focusing on the hijra community, Gayatri Reddy sheds new light on Indian society and the intricate negotiations of identity across various domains of everyday life. Further, by reframing hijra identity through the local economy of respect, this ethnography highlights the complex relationships among local and global, sexual and moral, economies.
This book will be regarded as the definitive work on hijras, one that will be of enormous interest to anthropologists, students of South Asian culture, and specialists in the study of gender and sexuality.