Synopses & Reviews
Generations of social thinkers have assumed that access to legitimate paid employment and a decline in the and#8216;double standardand#8217; would eliminate the reasons behind womenand#8217;s participation in prostitution. Yet in both the developing world and in postindustrial cities of the West, sexual commerce has continued to flourish, diversifying along technological, spatial, and social lines. In this deeply engaging and theoretically provocative study, Elizabeth Bernstein examines the social features that undergird the expansion and diversification of commercialized sex, demonstrating the ways that postindustrial economic and cultural formations have spawned rapid and unforeseen changes in the forms, meanings, and spatial organization of sexual labor.
Drawing upon dynamic and innovative research with sex workers, their clients, and state actors, Bernstein argues that in cities such as San Francisco, Stockholm, and Amstersdam, the nature of what is purchased in commercial sexual encounters is also new. Rather than the expedient exchange of cash for sexual relations, what sex workers are increasingly paid to offer their clients is an erotic experience premised upon the performance of authentic interpersonal connection. As such, contemporary sex markets are emblematic of a cultural moment in which the boundaries between intimacy and commerceand#8212;and between public life and privateand#8212;have been radically redrawn. Not simply a compelling exploration of the changing landscape of sex-work, Temporarily Yours ultimately lays bare the intimate intersections of political economy, desire, and culture.
"A fascinating combination of 'macro' analysis (i.e., the political economy of prostitution) and 'micro' insights into a certain form of sex work--i.e., the kind that occurs indoors between middle-class/upper-class men and lower-to-middle class women."
and#8220;An analysis of contemporary sexual commerce that combines a sharp ethnographic eye with a trenchant theoretical mind. Whether you are a jaded prostitution scholar tired of debates that seem forever to re-chew the same contentious old cud, or someone who has never read a book on prostitution before, this wide-ranging study will both orient and challenge you.and#8221;
and#8220;Combining bold claims about changes in the global sexual economy with deep empathy for sex workers themselves, Elizabeth Bernstein uses perceptive ethnography in San Francisco, Stockholm, and Amsterdam to illuminate contemporary change and variation in the sale of sexual services. We begin to see that in the world of commercial sex new forms of intimacy are emerging.and#8221;
"This rich and multidimensional book looks at how individual practices and cultural contexts are shaped by economic structures. . . . I hope Temporarily Yours finds a wide audience among those interested in labor, emotions, gender, sexuality, urbanizm, and globalization. And public policy experts as well. Temporarilyand#160;Yours is a terrific book. That it could be written and published today marks the coming of age of sociological work on sexuality and the maturation, too, of gender studies."
"This is an ambitious bookand#8212;highly readable, compelling, and original. Bernsteinand#8217;s claim is that the character and organization of sex work has shifted between the modern industrial to late-capitalist periods. Whereas the signature form of sex work used to be the non-white streetwalker working in largely marginal neighborhoods, today, she reveals, sex work is largely private, relying heavily on the Internet, and provided by someone that is as often white and middle-class as non-white and poor."
and#8220;Elizabeth Bernsteinand#8217;s Temporarily Yours is a first-rate piece of sociological investigation that reads like a novel.and#160;We will never look at commercial sex in the same way again.and#8221;--Kristin Luker, University of California, Berkeley, author of When Sex Goes to School
andldquo;Tourist Attractionsand#160;not only holds its own, but in fact stands out as a new and innovative study within a field that is noteworthy for its strength. Mitchell brings the legacy of this scholarly tradition into meaningful dialogue with a range of other literatures that have emerged on issues like sex work, tourism, and race relations. He offers rare insight into the context of commercial sex and gives readers the lived experience of a social system in all its richness and complexity. This book is a tour de force.andrdquo;
andldquo;Melding current theories of affective labor, queer kinship, and racialized desire with his own intimate, ethnographic accounts,andnbsp;Mitchell offers bold and fresh insights into a range of contemporaryandnbsp;touristic cultures in Brazil. This is a fascinating addition to the literatures on global sex work, sex tourism, and neoliberal sexualities.andrdquo;
andldquo;A valuable and insightful book about how sex works to both frame encounters between foreign tourists and Brazilian sex workers, and also to complicate and extend the impressions and the relationships that result from those encounters. The focus on male sex workers is welcome and overdue, and the attention to eco-tourism, African-American andlsquo;roots tourism,andrsquo; and the way that some client-sex worker relationships develop into transnational queer families is eye-opening, fresh, and fascinating.andrdquo;
While much attention has been paid in recent years to heterosexual prostitution and sex tourism in Brazil, gay sex tourism has been almost completely overlooked. In Tourist Attractions
, Gregory C. Mitchell presents a pioneering ethnography that focuses on the personal lives and identities of male sex workers who occupy a variety of roles in Brazilandrsquo;s sexual economy.
Mitchell takes us into the bath houses of Rio de Janeiro, where rent boys cruise for clients, and to the beaches of Salvador da Bahia, where African American gay men seek out hustlers while exploring cultural heritage tourist sites. His ethnography stretches into the Amazon, where indigenous fantasies are tinged with the erotic at eco-resorts, and into the homes of andldquo;kept men,andrdquo; who forge long-term, long-distance, transnational relationships that blur the boundaries of what counts as commercial sex. Mitchell asks how tourists perceive sex workersandrsquo; performances of Brazilianness, race, and masculinity, and, in turn, how these two groups of men make sense of differing models of racial and sexual identity across cultural boundaries. He proposes that in order to better understand how people experience difference sexually, we reframe prostitutionandmdash;which Marxist feminists have long conceptualized as sexual laborandmdash;as also being a form of performative labor. Tourist Attractions is an exceptional ethnography poised to make an indelible impact in the fields of anthropology, gender, and sexuality, and research on prostitution and tourism.
About the Author
Gregory Mitchell is assistant professor in the Womenandrsquo;s, Gender and Sexuality Studies program and affiliate faculty in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at Williams College.
Table of Contents
1and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; Sexual Commerce in Postindustrial Culture
2and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; Remapping the Boundaries of "Vice"
3and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; Modern Prostitution and Its Remnants
4and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; The Privatization of Public Women
5and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; Desire, Demand, and the Commerce of Sex
6and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; The State, Sexuality, and the Market
7and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; Sexuality Debates and Pleasure Wars