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Title: Policing prostitution : view from the streets
Author: Policek, Nicoletta
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2002
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This thesis describes and analyses the policing of female street prostitution in Edinburgh. In particular, it provides an analysis of the construction of prostitutes’ identities through policing. My approach attempts to dispel some of the myths, misunderstandings and ambiguities which surround contemporary understandings of female street prostitution, thereby making a contribution to more general theorising about the female body. Structured around the central concept of identity, the chapters of the thesis are organised around my understanding of the use of values, norms and beliefs by members of society in the construction of social order, identity and the formal and informal policing of the body. These three themes run throughout. In addition, on-going analysis of the data collected throughout the fieldwork period revealed two further themes: (i) the ability of female street prostitutes to negotiate their power(s) through the regulatory function of shame and the negotiation of “truth” and, (ii) consequently, the fact that sex workers’ identities are shaped through their own ability to draw on and generate knowledge(s). The thesis also shows how power relations of gender and social structure dominate the day-to-day life of the red light area in Leith. In particular, the data presented demonstrate how power in “red light culture” rests in a delicate equilibrium in which the women themselves exert some power, not simply as the stereotypical “Madame”, but as working women who have made conscious decisions to enter the sex industry. Indeed, in this version of sex-for-sale, the data show how prostitute women can frequently invert power by “taking control of the street” through the construction and management of their personal and professional identities. In circularity, power becomes knowledge which in turn preserves power.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available