chapter  1
20 Pages

Technologies of Power

Within the grand catalogue of criminal offences, the asking for a reward by a young woman in return for a sexual service must surely rate as a trivial misdemeanour.1 Yet across the centuries and within many cultures, the female prostitute has been a focus of anxiety for those who wish to regulate society. The study of the prostitute and prostitution engages a variety of disciplines, including theology, medicine, politics, law, social policy, sociology, history, literature, art, and the generalised social observation of human frailty, of which most of us are guilty. Experts and social commentators have catalogued, analysed, pathologised, legislated and fantasised, while the well-meaning have rescued, redeemed, protected and punished. Many anxious observers have looked for causes, and have sought a cure for a presumed malady afflicting women whose behaviour is often seen as a barometer of social ills.