Reconfiguring Stigma in Studies of Sex for Sale  book cover
1st Edition

Reconfiguring Stigma in Studies of Sex for Sale

ISBN 9781138613065
Published September 24, 2021 by Routledge
226 Pages

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Book Description

Reconfiguring Stigma in Studies of Sex for Sale is about the production and effects of stigma in sex work or prostitution with contributions from four continents and different disciplines that taken together explore how such stigma is conditioned by differences in time, place, citizenship, gender, sexuality, class and race.

Stigma is about relationships between people and also sets an interpretative frame whereby people understand and react to situations and actions, and the book is developed and organized to investigate this from various angles. It presents empirical studies that build on and expand the scholarship on stigma and sex work. This means that it contributes to a more complex understanding of stigma in sex work studies. Further, by using the example of sew work to explore how we can best understand the production and consequences of stigma, the book makes a contribution that is relevant for all scholars who work on stigma and stigmatization.

The book is intended for academic audiences interested in sex work or prostitution, on the one hand, and stigmatization, on the other. It is also intended for students in a broad range of disciplines, as well as for practitioners and activists who encounter or work with stigmatization or stigmatized populations.

Table of Contents

1. Reconfiguring Stigma in Sex Work Studies and Beyond: Putting Relationality to Work

Lorraine Nencel, Jeanett Bjønness and May-Len Skilbrei

2. From Social Deviant to Equal Citizen? Stigma and the Decriminalization of Sex Work in New Zealand

Lynzi Armstrong

3. Problematizing the 'prostitution problem' in Ethiopia: The Stigmatization of Sex Workers through Moral Discourses and Their Representations

Getnet Tadele, Lorraine Nencel and Ida Sabelis

4. Prostitution and the politics of respectability: Sex work, Stigma and Representations of the Other

Erin Sanders-McDonagh

5.Sex Work Activism and Intersectionality: The Role of Stigma in Uniting Sex Workers

Marie-Louise Janssen

6. Struggling with Stigma: Public Recognition as a Double-Edged Sword Among Organized Sex Workers in Denmark

Christian Groes

7. Knowing Who is a ‘hustler’: Stigmatization in Service Providers’ First Talks in Germany

Marlen S. Löffler

8. Reconfiguring Sexuality and Stigma: Perspectives of North American Women in Street-Based Sex Work

Susan Dewey and Treena Orchard

9. Resignifying the Client in Search of Respectability

Jeanett Bjønness and May-Len Skilbrei

10. The Lady and the Tramp: Management of Stigma in the Nevada Brothel

Christina Parreira

11. The Historical and Current Stigma of Sex Workers in Japan

Yoko Kumada

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Jeanett Bjønness is an anthropologist, and Assistant Professor at Center for alcohol and drug research, Aarhus University. Her main research includes work on prostitution and sugardating, and aspects of identity, gender and class related to the exchange of sexual services, as well as young peoples’ identity strategies and use of medicine and drugs to cope and perform in the educational system.

Lorraine Nencel is Associate Professor at the Department of sociology Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. She has done research on sex work in different continents and is an engaged scholar aiming to work together with sex-worker-led organizations to produce research that support them in their struggles for change. Her book Ethnography and Prostitution in Peru (Pluto Press 2001) and the article ‘Invisible mobilities: stigma, immobilities, and female sex workers’ mundane socio-legal negotiations of Dhaka’s urban space’ (with H. J. Shewley et al.) in Mobilities (2020) give an idea as to the in-depth understandings that can be produced when using participatory, engaged methodology. 

May-Len Skilbrei is Professor of Criminology at the University of Oslo, Norway. Her research interests are mobility, gender and sexuality. She has done empirical studies on subjectivities in and policy developments on prostitution and human trafficking, and has together with Charlotta Holmström written a monograph and several articles and chapters on policy development on commercial sex in the Nordic countries.


'Stigma is an occupational hazard for sex workers and their customers throughout the world. They routinely face prejudice, marginalization, and punitive treatment by social institutions, the authorities, and the wider public. This book offers groundbreaking research on key dimensions of stigmatization in various countries, and it also addresses the preconditions for reducing sex work stigma. A major contribution to our understanding of this crucial impediment to the health and safety of those who are involved in sexual commerce.'

Ronald Weitzer, Professor George Washington University, USA

'Questioning the "universalised" nature of "whore stigma", this volume provides insights from sex workers across the globe. From Germany to Japan, Ethiopia to Nevada, what is experienced as stigma in different social and legal practices is scrutinized and further theorised. The book challenges conventional ways of thinking about stigma, making a significant contribution to the literature.'

Teela Sanders, Director of Research and Professor of Criminology at the Department of Criminology, University of Leicester, UK