Social Construction of Sex Work

Ethnography of Escort Agencies in Poland

Izabela Ślęzak

Jagiellonian University Press

Social Construction of Sex Work

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Pub Date: October 2019

ISBN: 9788323344193

252 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $50.00£40.00

Social Construction of Sex Work

Ethnography of Escort Agencies in Poland

Izabela Ślęzak

Jagiellonian University Press

This book presents an analysis of the social organization of escort agencies in Poland. Izabela Ślęzak focuses on the actions of female sex workers, who are seen as active participants co-creating their working conditions. She analyzes the interactions between sex workers and their clients. Furthermore, she discusses the relationships between employees of the premises, namely the women providing sex services, the managers of the agencies, and security workers.

The conclusions of the publication are the result of long-standing ethnographic research carried out in escort agencies, as well as unstructured interviews with their employees and clients. The book is addressed to people who are interested in qualitative sociology, interpretative sociology, and those who would like to understand contemporary escort agencies which operate in Poland. It will be also important for employees of organizations that work with people who provide sex services.
The great advantage of the book is its rare sensitivity, combined with the reliability and insight of the researcher’s attitude. The author was able to gain the trust of the researched women, but at the same time she avoids becoming their advocate or an impartial observer who watches a researched scene dispassionately. Without moralizing or judging, this book provides the reader with a reliable picture of sex work performed by women who are made of flesh and blood. They have their concerns and hopes, plans for the future, doubts, and thoughts—they are one of us, to put it briefly. The author disenchants prostitution, presenting it more in terms of work rather than a vice. Therefore, this highly stereotyped fragment of the social world gets a human face. The author has done work that is the essence of a sociologist’s task—to get insight into a social reality and comprehend it. Elżbieta Zakrzewska-Manterys, Institute of Applied Social Sciences, Warsaw University

About the Author

Izabela Ślęzak is assistant professor in the Institute of Sociology of the University of Lodz. She has written several dozen articles and a monograph entitled Praca kobiet świadczących usługi seksualne w agencjach towarzyskich [The work of female sex workers in escort agencies], which won the 2017 EGOS Book Award from the European Group for Organizational Studies (EGOS) for best book in the field of organization studies. For this book, in 2016, she also received the Annual Award of the Section of Social Anthropology, Polish Sociological Association for the Best Research in Anthropology of the Year 2017.