Reconciling Paradigms of Prostitution through Narration



The article focuses on the sex work / violence controversy indebates about prostitution both theoretically and empirically,with an emphasis on Central/South-Eastern Europe, andSlovenia in particular. The article first analyses studies anddebates on prostitution in the region during the (post)socialistyears. It then moves on to discuss the twofold effect of theliberalization of prostitution during the transition period:while, on the one hand, prostitution was destigmatized, onthe other it was commodified to serve the economic interestsof the emerging globalized sex and trafficking industry.Interviews with various protagonists involved in prostitution inSlovenia show how these processes affected their living andworking conditions. The experiences of prostitutes reveal thecomplexity of their situations, showing that there is no clear--cut distinction between prostitution and trafficking and thatboth voluntary and involuntary elements are involved. Byevaluation of arguments of both the sex work and theviolence paradigms, the article proposes to study prostitutionbeyond binarism, in its heterogeneity, i.e. by thematizing itsvarious aspects and by taking into consideration the realitiesof actors engaged in prostitution.


prostitution; sexuality; sex work; violence; narration; Slovenia

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Print ISSN 1330-0288 | Online ISSN 1848-6096