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Relationships among Stigmatized Women Engaged in Street-Level Prostitution: Coping with Stigma and Stigma Management

Special Issue: Problematizing Prostitution: Critical Research and Scholarship

ISBN: 978-1-78635-040-4, eISBN: 978-1-78635-039-8

ISSN: 1059-4337

Publication date: 20 October 2016

Abstract

Very little research has examined how prostitute women relate to each other. Drawing on interviews, focus groups, and observations with 76 women engaged in street-level prostitution in Baltimore, Philadelphia, and a mid-Atlantic state, we show how prostitute women provide mutual assistance both to meet their basic needs and as part of their ethical norms, in contrast to the stigmatized characterizations of prostitute women as morally deficient. Women’s relationships offer them concrete support and encouragement while simultaneously producing a counter-narrative that challenges their stigmatized identities.

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Acknowledgements

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank the reviewers and editors of this volume for their helpful comments. Leon would also like to thank Nikki Kress and Lauren Myers for their incredible dedication to the interviews, as well as Dana Alvare, Jessica Hickman, James Highberger, and Kevin Ralston for their research assistance. The Peterson County research was funded by a subaward from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Public Health and Science, Office on Women’s Health. Shdaimah is grateful to Marie Bailey-Kloch and Deb Svoboda for their assistance with interviews in Baltimore and their thoughtful engagement with the project.

Citation

Shdaimah, C. and Leon, C.S. (2016), "Relationships among Stigmatized Women Engaged in Street-Level Prostitution: Coping with Stigma and Stigma Management", Special Issue: Problematizing Prostitution: Critical Research and Scholarship (Studies in Law, Politics, and Society, Vol. 71), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 43-62. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1059-433720160000071003

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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