CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

This article focuses on two analyses of the sex trade, one from the perspective of materialist feminism and the other from the perspective of intimate transactions. It examines in particular Paola Tabet’s concepts of economic-sexual exchange, Sonia Dayan-Herzbrun’s research on emotional dependence, and the work of Viviana Zelizer. While feminist perspectives have designed tools to analyze the sexual exploitation of women through physical violence, they also question the production of female desires and romantic investments in a context of unequal distribution of resources. Zelizer’s work emphasizes individuals’ capacities to define the boundaries of an intimate relationship. Her work also proposes a singular conception of intimacy in which partners make themselves vulnerable to each other. Both approaches are based on distinct conceptions of gender and economics, but both highlight the limits of analyses in terms of the commodification of sexuality and place the analysis of the sex trade within a sociology of love and intimacy in which dependence and the possibility of suffering are central.

  • feminism
  • economy
  • sexuality
  • dependence
  • violence
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