The Meaning of the Purchase

@article{Bernstein2001TheMO,
  title={The Meaning of the Purchase},
  author={Elizabeth Bernstein},
  journal={Ethnography},
  year={2001},
  volume={2},
  pages={389 - 420}
}
Feminists and other scholars have debated theoretically what exactly is being purchased in the prostitution transaction and whether sex can be `a service like any other', but they have scarcely tackled these questions empirically. This article draws upon field observations of and interviews with male clients of commercial sex-workers and state agents entrusted with regulating them to probe the meanings given to different types of commercial sexual exchange. Manifested by client arrests and re… 

Figures from this paper

Male Sexual Scripts
This article examines empirical qualitative data on men who buy sexual services from women who work as escorts and in massage parlours. It investigates that men give to sexual experience, their
Culture and the Sociology of Sexuality: It's Only Natural?
This article locates six themes in the overlap between the sociology of culture and the sociology of sexuality, highlighting both institutionalized and discursive forms of power. These themes include
Sexual encounters, migration and desire in post-socialist context(s)
This introduction explores the contested issue of ‘prostitution’ and the transnational flow of sex labor. Drawing on the experiences of female migrants described in this issue, we rethink the impact
Sexual Commodification: Pornography, Prostitution, and Personal Constructs
Sexual desire is a personal, if not extremely intimate, aspect of most individuals’ lives. At the same time, it is an increasingly public part of everyday lives in the form of advertising and other
Men’s constructions of masculinity and male sexuality through talk of buying sex
TLDR
It is shown how men draw on heteronormative sexual scripts in constructing and making sense of paid sexual encounters and how men are simultaneously able to construct and enact a particular idealised version of masculinity and male sexuality through their talk on paying for sex.
Female Prostitution, Customers, and Violence
Through a critical review of existing research, this article argues that (a) customers have been excluded from many debates surrounding prostitution, and including them will create a more robust
Mainstream Sexualization and the Potential for Nordic New Feminism
Processes of sexualization mark a wide range of popular and high‐cultural representations in media and culture. This trend has led to academic and public feminist debate. In this article I argue that
“I Wanted to Feel Like a Man Again”: Hegemonic Masculinity in Relation to the Purchase of Street-Level Sex
This paper examines the narratives of men who purchase sex from street level providers in a mid-sized city in Western Canada. We explore what men’s stories tell us about how masculinity is
"Buying into sexy": preteen girls and consumer capitalism in the twenty-first century
We live in a hypersexualized society that infantilizes women and commodifies girls at the service of the capitalist system. In recent years, Quebec and other Western societies, have witnessed a
Identity Construction of Men Who Pay Women for Sex: A Qualitative Meta-Synthesis
TLDR
It is demonstrated that paying for sex permeates many life spheres of MPWS, and affects their gendered, sexual, cultural, intimate, consumerist and social identities, and self-perceptions, and the literature on MPWS needs further social and cultural contextualization.
...
...

References

SHOWING 1-10 OF 103 REFERENCES
The Sexual Contract
In this remarkably original work of political philosophy, one of today's foremost feminist theorist challenges the way contemporary society functions by questioning the standard interpretation of an
Making it Work: The Prostitutes' Rights Movement in Perspective
As its double-edged title suggests, Making It Work examines the oldest profession as just that: a service industry with professional sex workers. This reframing of prostitution is done by chronicling
At home with pornography : women, sex, and everyday life
Twenty-five years after the start of the feminist sex wars, pornography remains a flashpoint issue, with feminists locked in a familiar argument: Are women victims or agents? In At Home with
The Morality of Market Exchange: Love, Money, and Contractual Justice
Prostitution as a cultural practice describes the line between what must be given as a gift and what may be exchanged as a commodity; an investigation of prostitution can therefore further our
The Sociology of Prostitution
O THE THEORETICAL even more than to the applied sociologist, prostitution sets a profound problem: Why is it that a practice so thoroughly disapproved, so widely outlawed in Western civilization, can
The Fantasy Factory: An Insider's View of the Phone Sex Industry
The Fantasy Factory explores the world of women on the other end of the phone sex lines advertised in magazines like Playboy and Hustler. The author's interviews with these women, as well as her own
Powers of Desire: The Politics of Sexuality
This provocative anthology brings together a diverse group of well-known feminist and gay writers, historians, and activists. They are concerned not only with current sexual issues-abortion,
Clients of prostitutes: Sick deviants or ordinary men? A discussion of the male role concept and cultural changes in masculinity
How can we explain the fact that some men buy sex, but most do not? Explaining both deviance and normality is a general problem in role theory. Based on a research project on the clients of
On Postmodern Uses of Sex
Of sex, eroticism and love, the first is natural and limited in its forms, while the other two are cultural products infinite in their expressions and applications. The history of eroticism is,
The Whore Stigma: Female Dishonor and Male Unworthiness
Whore means prostitute. And a prostitute is a woman who offers to hire her body for indiscriminate sexual intercourse, or so says The Concise Oxford Dictionary. Prostitute is further defined as a
...
...