Body meets class. An inquiry into the political economy of sex work
A lot of questions surround the sex work industry, from political to economic to social ones. While, generally speaking, the literature has been critically focused on one of these areas, there is a lack of a clear basis for a more definite understanding of the situation of the labourers. My purpose will be to build a Marxist framework of analysis that can illuminate a few crucial questions. I use the methodology of Analytical Marxism, while aspects of work relations are of feminist origin. After a brief introduction, in the first part I look at what sex work is, from a value perspective, offering an alternative refutation to some widely known feminist arguments in this area. In the second part, I look what the elements that come into play in sex work can tell us about how the labor is carried out, explaining why their is a need for conceptualizing the output as intimacy. After this overview, I categorize the workers as proletarians, for several reasons. The third part deals with the prospect of unionization in the field of emotional work. Necessarily, I will argue that sex work is intrinsically affective, in order to bring forward a recommendation for the process of representation. The final part contains a conclusion and some guiding ideas for both feminist and socialist political struggles.