Germany has been infamously dubbed the "Brothel of Europe," but how does legalized prostitution actually work? Is it empowering or victimizing, realistic or dangerous?
In Legalized Prostitution in Germany, Annegret D. Staiger's ethnography engages historical, cultural, and legal contexts to reframe the brothel as a place of longing and belonging, of affective entanglements between unlikely partners, and of new beginnings across borders, while also acknowledging the increasingly exploitative labor practices. By sharing the stories of sex workers, clients, and managers within the larger legal system—meant to provide dignity and safety through regulation—Staiger skillfully frames the economic aspects of commercial sex work and addresses important questions about sexual labor, intimacy, and relationships.
Weaving insightful scholarship with beautiful storytelling, Legalized Prostitution in Germany provides readers with a deeper understanding of the complexities of legalized prostitution.
1. Sex in the Public Sphere
2. The Decline of the Red Light District
3. The New Red Light Geography and Changing Regimes of Prostitution
4. Work and Life at the Flamingo: Portraits of the Girls
5. Zuhälter on the Brothel Floor and Labor Discipline
6. Prestige, Belonging, and Coercion: The Gift in Sex for Sale
7. Sex Clients: At the Club, On the Forum, and at the Pub
Annegret D. Staiger is Professor of Anthropology at Clarkson University. She is author of Learning Difference: Race and Schooling in the Multiracial Metropolis.
"Legalized Prostitution in Germany offers an extremely novel and sophisticated approach to understanding a very complex topic and includes perspectives from individuals across the sex industry, rather than just sex workers, which is typically the case."—Susan Dewey, University of Wyoming
"Legalized Prostitution in Germany deals very seriously with the question of the legalization/regulation of prostitution. Staiger has much to say to not only anthropologists and gender studies professors, but also activists, health providers, and outreach workers, as well as security studies and legal studies."—Gregory Mitchell, Williams College
"This thoughtful exploration of legalized prostitution in Neuberg, Germany, includes interactions with sex workers; independent madams; municipal officials; and the owners, employees, and clients of new mega brothels. Staiger (Clarkson Univ.) also discusses Zuhälter—a nebulous category of pimps, traffickers, and others, ostensibly eliminated by the 2002 legalization, that now functions to enforce the new system. Staiger skillfully depicts the paradoxes of German attitudes toward sexuality—on one side, nudity on beaches and in bath houses and spas is not eroticized but acceptable; on the other, public spaces are replete with advertising depicting young, nubile, female bodies, and the heterosexual male gaze and extreme objectification of women are virtually unchallenged."—A. H. Koblitz, emerita, Arizona State University, Choice