Synopses & Reviews
In locations around the world, sex tourism is a booming business. What's Love Got to Do with It?
is an in-depth examination of the motivations of workers, clients, and others connected to the sex tourism business in Sosanduacute;a, a town on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic. Denise Brennan considers why Dominican and Haitian women move to Sosanduacute;a to pursue sex work and describes how sex tourists, primarily Europeans, come to Sosanduacute;a to buy sex cheaply and live out racialized fantasies. For the sex workers, Brennan explains, the sex trade is more than a means of survivalandmdash;it is an advancement strategy that hinges on their successful andldquo;performanceandrdquo; of love. Many of these women seek to turn a commercialized sexual transaction into a long-term relationship that could lead to marriage, migration, and a way out of poverty.
Illuminating the complex world of Sosanduacute;aandrsquo;s sex business in rich detail, Brennan draws on extensive interviews not only with sex workers and clients, but also with others who facilitate and benefit from the sex trade. She weaves these voices into an analysis of Dominican economic and migration histories to consider the opportunitiesandmdash;or lack thereofandmdash;available to poor Dominican women. She shows how these women, local actors caught in a web of global economic relations, try to take advantage of the foreign men who are in Sosanduacute;a to take advantage of them. Through her detailed study of the lives and working conditions of the women in Sosanduacute;aandrsquo;s sex trade, Brennan raises important questions about womenandrsquo;s power, control, and opportunities in a globalized economy.
andldquo;In this finely hued ethnography, Denise Brennan questions how transnationalization gets transacted, imagined, and experienced through an examination of the sex trade in a specific locale, Sosanduacute;a in Dominican Republic. Interweaving the grand themes of political economy and power inequities with those of desire and fantasyandmdash;and from the sides of both (foreign) customer and (local) sex workerandmdash;she has crafted a richly textured study of a andlsquo;sexscapeandrsquo; and its brokering of dreams as much as of money and sex.andrdquo;andmdash;Anne Allison, author of Nightwork: Sexuality, Pleasure, and Corporate Masculinity in a Tokyo Hostess Club
andldquo;A smart, timely, eye-opening account. Whatandrsquo;s Love Got To Do with It? makes both menandrsquo;s and womenandrsquo;s hopes and strategies visible. It underscores poor womenandrsquo;s capacity for agency and internationalized thinking without portraying the international system of commercialized sexuality as one in which women and men are meeting on a level playing field.andrdquo;andmdash;Cynthia Enloe, author of The Morning After: Sexual Politics at the End of the Cold War
An ethnographic case study of sex tourism in the Dominican Republic, showing how the sex trade is linked to economic and cultural globalization.
About the Author
Denise Brennan is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Georgetown University.