chapter
16 Pages

Introduction: The deployment of 'dangerous' female sexualities

In 1986 an eminent Scottish historian wrote: 'The history of the family, and of child upbringing and the place of women within and without the home, is so neglected in Scotland as to verge on becoming a historiographic disgrace.'l At first glance a book which aspires to address this silence by focusing on prostitution must appear curious, to say the least. Today prostitution conjures up images of family breakdown, pornography, drugs, and most recently AIDS. But the relationship between prostitution and the social class and female gender roles which emerged within the mid-nineteenth-century social structure provides a particularly good opportunity to study some aspects of the experience of women in male-dominated society. This book examines four empirical and theoretical issues concerning prostitution in Scotland in the nineteenth century.