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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