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Title: The prostitute experience and prostitution policy in Germany, 1914-1945
Author: Harris, V. T.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2008
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This PhD dissertation uses prostitution to transform our understanding of working class sexuality and ethics in twentieth century Germany. It reveals the complicated societal interrelationship between class and gender. It demonstrates the need to grant a new, nuanced category of class a position of greater centrality in analyses of an incredibly class-conscious society. It radically alters our conception of the relationship between the type of government in power and official attitudes towards sexuality, arguing that the prevalent desire to control citizens’ sexuality transcended traditional left-right divides and intensified with economic and political modernisation. It begins by chronicling the life experiences of Cornelie Beyer, a Leipzig prostitute from 1907 to 1941. The ambiguity of treatment she experienced across the period, which saw her released in 1941 during the height of Nazi repression, reveals the significance of the disparities between national, regional and local politicians and bureaucrats, as well as the deep gulf that arises between ideological motivation and practical implementation. The PhD then moves to those prostitutes with whom Cornelie interacted. Next, the project analyses the prostitute milieu, investigating which citizens were involved in or supported the sex trade, as well as where prostitution took place. It then discusses how different citizens expressed frustrations with prostitution. Finally, the project turns to the other side of the prostitution issue, investigating the motivations of the law enforcement agencies, social workers and doctors, who all attempted to manage and contain prostitutes’ movements and behaviour. Developments within both state and private agencies, particularly those relating to attempts to scientifically categorise prostitutes, indicate the continuities across the multiple regimes in power during the period 1914 to 1945.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available