El espacio de la prostitución

Lilian Mathieu

Article de Lilian Mathieu in Gazeta de Antropología, n° 39 (2), 2023.

Traduction révisée de « L’espace de la prostitution », in Sociétés contemporaines, n° 38, 2000.

This article considers the world of prostitution as a social space. This notion enables to account for the mode of existence and consistency of the collective formed by prostitutes, as well as the specific social logics in which they are "caught". Based on a critical appropriation of the concept of "field" coined by Bourdieu, the notion of “social space” reveals the hierarchical principles (based on resources or capital such as physical strength, "protection" of pimps, experience, seduction, dependence on narcotics, etc.) of this marginal universe, while at the same time focusing on the expressions of exacerbated competition between individuals seeking to appropriate scarce resources in a context of precariousness. The space of prostitution is divided into segments, defined by the places and conditions in which it is practiced (on the street, in massage parlors, via the Internet, in hotels, etc.) and the different sub-categories ("veterans", "drug addicts", transvestites and transsexuals, "escorts", etc.).

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