1st Edition

Understanding Sex for Sale
Meanings and Moralities of Sexual Commerce

ISBN 9780367431839
Published January 5, 2020 by Routledge
218 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations

USD $47.95

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Book Description

The problem of prostitution, sex work or sex for sale can often be misunderstood, if we do not take into consideration its spatial, temporal and political context.

Understanding Sex for Sale aims to understand how prostitution, sex work or sex for sale are delineated, contested and understood in different spaces, places and times; with a particular focus on identifying how the relation between sex and money is interpreted and enacted. Divided into three parts, this interdisciplinary volume offers contributions that discuss ongoing theoretical issues and analytical challenges. Some chapters focus on how prostitution, sex work, or sex for sale have been regulated by the authorities and on the understandings that regulations are built upon. Other chapters investigate the experiences of sex workers and sex buyers, examining how these actors adjust to or resist the categorisation processes, control and stigma they are subjected to. Finally, a third group of chapters discuss contemporary definitional issues produced by various actors tasked with controlling prostitution or offering social services to its participants.

Advancing and placing analytical tools at the forefront of the discussion, Understanding Sex for Sale appeals to undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as researchers interested in fields such as, sociology, anthropology, criminology, history, human geography and gender studies.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Speaking about sex for sale historically, spatially and politically

May-Len Skilbrei and Marlene Spanger

Part I: Historically speaking

Chapter 2 What’s the problem with prostitution? Shifting problematisations of men and women selling sex

Jens Rydström

Chapter 3 Surveillance of dangerous liaisons through notions of sex and money

Marlene Spanger

Chapter 4 The production and transformation of prostitution spaces: the red-light district of Catania

Patrizia Testaí

Part II: Speaking from experience

Chapter 5 Intensive mothering as cultural script: boundary setting among street-involved women

Kyria Brown, Susan Dewey and Treena Orchard

Chapter 6 Beyond the client: exploring men's sexual scripting

Chiara Bertone and Raffaella Ferrero Camoletto

Chapter 7 The intimate bazaar of female sex tourism

Marie Bruvik Heinskou

Chapter 8 A ‘continuum of sexual economic exchanges’ or ‘weak agency’? Female migrant sex work in Switzerland

Milena Chimienti and Marylène Lieber

Chapter 9 The fluidity of a ‘happy ending’: Chinese masseuses in the Netherlands

Marie-Louise Janssen

Part III: Speaking about control

Chapter 10 The 'normal' and the 'other' woman of prostitution policy debates: new concerns and solutions

May-Len Skilbrei

Chapter 11 The gender of trafficking, or why can’t men be sex slaves?

Kerwin Kaye

Chapter 12 Spatial justice: how the police craft the city by enforcing law on prostitution

Alexander Kondakov

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May-Len Skilbrei is Professor at the Department of Criminology and Sociology of Law at the University of Oslo, Norway. Skilbrei has researched prostitution and prostitution policies since the mid-1990s. In the last ten years she has been involved in research on human trafficking, migration and gender, and has published articles in Crime & Justice, Women & Criminal Justice, Sexuality Research & Social Policy, Ethnos and British Journal of Criminology.

Marlene Spanger is Associate Professor at the Department of Culture and Global Studies at Aalborg University, Denmark. Spanger’s research fields include ethnographic fieldwork and discursive formations within the policy fields of prostitution and human trafficking, transnational intimacies and migration with a special attention to gender, sexual and racial issues.


Digging under the common misperceptions that inform our unease with sex and money, Skilbrei and Spanger’s collection rethinks scholarly theory and provides practical tools for policy makers, scholars and activists in addressing sex for sale

Barbara Brents, Professor of Sociology, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, USA

This book is a must read. As a collection, it offers something unique, scholarly and very original. It shows the multiplicity of meanings, all contextually bound, ascribed to prostitution. Essential reading for scholars, campaigners, students and researchers.

Jo Phoenix, Professor in Criminology, Open University, UK