Social Construction of Sex Work

Ethnography of Escort Agencies in Poland

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The book presents the social organization of escort agencies in Poland. The author focuses on analyzing the actions of female sex workers who are seen as active entities co-creating their working conditions. The author discusses the relationships between employees of the premises, namely the women providing sex services, the managers of the agencies and the security workers. Furthermore, she analyses the interactions between sex workers and their clients. The book is addressed to people who are interested in qualitative sociology, and those who would like to understand contemporary escort agencies in Poland. It will be also interesting for employees of organizations which work with people who provide sex services.


Liczba stron252
WydawcaWydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Łódzkiego
ISBN-13978-83-8142-097-6
Numer wydania1
Język publikacjiangielski
Informacja o sprzedawcyRavelo Sp. z o.o.

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Spis treści

  PREFACE    9
  
  Chapter 1. RESEARCH PROJECT – ASSUMPTIONS, METHODS, CONTEXTS    15
  1.1. Context of the research – indoor sex work in contemporary Poland    15
  1.1.1 Escort agencies in Poland     15
  1.1.2. The provision of sex services in Poland and legal regulations     19
  1.2. Theoretical inspirations for the research     20
  1.2.1. Prostitution versus sex work     20
  1.2.2. The theoretical perspective of the research     24
  1.3. Methodology of the research     28
  1.3.1. Ethnographic research and grounded theory methodology – a synergy of methods     28
  1.3.2. Data collection techniques     31
  1.3.2.1. Observation in escort agencies     32
  1.3.2.2. Interviews with sex workers and other agency workers     35
  1.3.3. Ethical issues     38
  
  Chapter 2. MANAGING AN ESCORT AGENCY     43
  2.1. The organizational framework     43
  2.2. Strategies for selecting female workers for escort agencies     45
  2.3. Recruitment of female sex workers for escort agencies     49
  2.3.1. Additional actions by the bosses     58
  2.4. Management styles     62
  2.4.1. Oppressive management style     62
  2.4.2. A style based on excessive fraternization     68
  2.4.3. A style based on distanced professionalism     70
  2.4.4. A style based on kind professionalism     71
  2.4.5. Management styles – summary     74
  2.5. Strategies adopted by female workers in various management styles     74
  2.6. Summary     79
  
  Chapter 3. RELATIONS BETWEEN CO-WORKERS – RIVALRY VERSUS COOPERATION     81
  3.1. The process of reconstructing a hierarchy in a group of co-workers     81
  3.2. The development of relationships between co-workers     88
  3.2.1. The positioning of a new female worker     90
  3.2.1.1. Reconstruction of the biography of a new worker     90
  3.2.1.2. Evaluation of the attitude adopted by the new towards the other female workers     93
  3.2.1.3. Estimation of the erotic capital of a new female worker     95
  3.2.2. Minimum involvement strategy     96
  3.2.3. Hostile actions     100
  3.2.3.1. Conditions influencing the course of hostile actions     104
  3.2.3.2. Strategies of the new female workers towards hostile actions     106
  3.2.4. Pragmatic acceptance     109
  3.2.4.1. Rivalry control strategies     110
  3.2.4.2. Pragmatic alliances     112
  3.2.4.3. Maintaining polite neutrality     113
  3.2.4.4. The management of negative emotions     114
  3.2.4.5. Professional solidarity     116
  3.2.5. Peer groups, emotional relationships and friendships     116
  3.3. Teamwork and socialization for sex work     118
  3.4. Between rivalry and cooperation – a summary     122
  
  Chapter 4. WORK WITH THE CLIENT IN THE LOUNGE     125
  4.1. Strategies for choosing clients in the lounge     125
  4.1.1. Selective choice of clients     126
  4.1.2. The non-selective approach     135
  4.2. Techniques for choosing clients in the lounge     139
  4.2.1. Strategic seduction     139
  4.2.2. Working to discourage the client     147
  4.2.3. Strategic seduction as a group action     148
  4.2.4. Strategic seduction and groups of clients     150
  4.2.5. Incidents in the lounge – the breakdown of the strategic seduction    153
  4.3. Summary     157
  
  Chapter 5. WORK WITH THE CLIENT IN THE ROOM     159
  5.1. Dimensions of work with the client     159
  5.1.1. Scope of the work with the client     159
  5.1.1.1. Working (with/on) the client’s body     159
  5.1.1.2. Parapsychological work     161
  5.1.1.3. Negotiating the scope of work with the client     165
  5.1.2. Negotiating the level of earnings     167
  5.1.3. Negotiating the duration of the meeting     173
  5.1.4. Work on the relationship     177
  5.2. Feeling the client     183
  5.3. Scenarios of relations with the client in the room     184
  5.3.1. Romance     185
  5.3.2. Erotic adventure     188
  5.3.3. Sexual service     189
  5.3.4. Mechanical sex     190
  5.3.5. Scenarios of relations with the client in the room – final remarks     191
  5.4. Summary     192
  
  Chapter 6. SECURITY AND SAFETY WORK     195
  6.1. Agency managers and the matter of safety     195
  6.2. Security guards and work safety     198
  6.3. Female workers and work safety     203
  6.3.1. Experiencing violence by sex workers in escort agencies     203
  6.3.2. Preventive and defensive actions undertaken by female workers     206
  6.4. Strategies of female workers towards aggressive behaviors of clients     210
  6.4.1. Passive strategy     210
  6.4.2. Strategy of active actions     213
  6.4.2.1. Gentle persuasion     213
  6.4.2.2. Confrontation actions     215
  6.4.2.3. Ultimatum     217
  6.4.2.4. Degradation of the client     218
  6.4.2.5. Emotion for emotion     221
  6.4.3. The strategies of female workers towards aggressive behaviors of clients – final remarks     221
  6.5. How to deal with difficult experiences     222
  6.6. Summary     224
  
  CONCLUSION     225
  REFERENCES     231
  A LIST OF FIGURES     243
  ANNEX     245
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