Ethnography and Prostitution in Peru (Anthropology, Culture and Society)

Ethnography and Prostitution in Peru (Anthropology, Culture and Society)

Lorraine Nencel

Language: English

Pages: 256

ISBN: 0745316611

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


In this lively, hard-hitting feminist study of prostitution, Lorraine Nencel interrogates the ways in which sexuality, gender and illicit behaviour have been constructed (and deconstructed) over the years. This is a richly detailed ethnographic account that interweaves narrative with theory. Nencel deals with issues such as AIDS, machismo and the regulation of the sex trade. She analyses the question of whether sex workers are victims or agents of control. In challenging conventional approaches to the study of sex workers and prostitution, Nencel has produced an original and provocative new study that is likely to provoke further discussion and debate.

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would put on a big smile and greet ‘Señorita Lorena’ the moment she entered the door, he eventually replaced this with a quick look to see who was entering, returning to what he was doing and reserving the big smile for the moment he could not avoid talking to me. The Crazy Horse has a peculiar history. Legend has it that the owner, who lives in the provinces and rarely visits the establishment, is actually against this type of club because it lowers its value. He has tried to change it,

group is the antithesis of the average prostitute working in Lima.10 How is it possible for the same woman to be promiscuous, immoral and at the same time virtuous in fulfilling her vocation of motherhood? Yet, these images are placed side by side in the media’s representations with an assumed and unexplained logic. One article I encountered illustrates this excellently. A photo covering two pages introduces the article. A middle-aged woman who is wearing a bathing suit is stretched out in a

know her that well, she is Gabriela’s friend. I have no problem living alone.’ Sitting at the kitchen table, I asked her about some of the women. ‘Pilar only comes when she feels like it. Carmen is not coming any more because she has been fighting with one of the Señoras who never hurts a fly. I had to break them up, they were beating up each other. I am sick of all this.’ She draws an imaginary line above her forehead. I asked, ‘Why are they fighting?’ ‘Carmen is an alcoholic.’ ‘What about

would be avoided. A mask of indifference hid their opinions in her presence, but the comments which followed when she left showed their disapproval of such performances. ‘This house is the place where we rest, I have my problems, too, but I leave them at home. At least she should leave them on the street’, said Señora Maria. Inasmuch as this environment is perceived as dangerous, these types of relationship are protective. They gloss over the true intentions and messages being transmitted. Other

Magda were complaining about the lack of business. Yalu came in with her arm bandaged. When she left, Clara filled me in on what had happened. A drug addict who accused her of stealing had stabbed her. She asked Clara if she could have almuerzo. Clara lied and said she had not prepared enough. ‘If I give her almuerzo she won’t pay me until the next week. I need to be paid immediately. I don’t need more problems than I already have.’ A conversation began about the son of the man from whom they

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