This is a richly detailed account of the way the sex industry works, and one of the few empirical studies that investigates the off street industry in Britain. The book seeks to advance a greater knowledge of the social organisation of the sex industry by uncovering the day-to-day activities of women involved in the indoor markets. What types of occupational risks do women experience in work of this kind? How do these hazards affect their personal lives? A key concern throughout the book is to assess whether women are passive victims of the circumstances of prostitution or whether they understand and calculate their responses to danger. Drawing upon both sociological and criminological theories, and on detailed research in the city of Birmingham, the author addresses these questions by estimating the rationality of those responses and by providing a measure of how women make sense of different risks. Sex Work: a risky business describes how women create complex psychological and emotional techniques to maintain their sanity while selling sex, and goes on to argue that the indoor sex markets in Britain have a distinct 'occupational culture' with a set of social norms, code of conduct and moral hierarchies that make it a high regulated workplace despite its illicit and sometimes illegal nature.
Contents Introduction 1 The peculiarities of prostitution 2 Ethnography, sex and the self 3 Choice, risk and selling sex 4 Picking punters 5 Keeping safe 6 Dodging cops 7 Secrets and lies 8 Staying sane 9 Professionalizing prostitution? Bibliography Index