• Carina Larsen
  • Maria Kraft
4. semester, Socialt Arbejde, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
In 1999 the national parliament of Denmark (NPD) elected to decriminalize prostitution, and terminated the paragraphs sentencing prostitutes. The NPD does not accept prostitution as a legal profession and prostitution is defined as a social problem. The aim is to scrutinize which discourses are to be found in related readings from the NPD and how the discourses either improve or aggravate the prostitutes’ day to day lives.

This study is based on two readings from the NPD from the periods 1998 - 1999 and 2008 - 2010 and performed interviews with two prostitutes from a dedicated organization.

We have applied Norman Faircloughs ‘critical discourse analysis as method’. Faircloughs ‘critical discourse analysis’ is useful when looking at power structures and how power structures can place some people in powerless situations. Fairclough introduces a three dimensional model based on text, a discursive practice and a social practice. An analysis of these three elements contributes to clarify if discourses and order of discourses are changing or repeated in the society.
A text analysis is organized under four main headlines, vocabulary, grammar, cohesion and text. According to Fairclough, a text is a portrayal of a reality and attributing meaning to this. Given the characteristics of the text it is possible to map how discourses are articulated and how the discourses aid interpretation of the text. The discursive practice focuses on processes of text production, distribution and consumption. These processes demand a reference to economical, political and institutional areas in which the discourses are articulated. According to Fairclough it is necessary to apply other theories to identify the social practice. Thus to identify the social practice we have applied Mitchell Deans ‘approach to governmentality studies’ and Michel Foucaults ‘deconstruction of sexuality’ and Foucaults understanding of power and how power is applied in intimate areas. We find Deans ‘approach to governmentality studies’ useful in analyzing how the government conducts prostitutes and to see which management tools the government uses in order to conduct the prostitutes. We have also used Deans approach to determine how prostitutes conduct themselves. Foucaults ‘understanding of power’ is useful to understand how deep a society regulates human life and how power is able to define what is legal and illegal in a society. Power is therefore able to regulate through legislation. In identifying the social practice we have also used the interviews to clarify how the prostitutes experience their own existence.

We have found that the NPD conducts prostitutes on the basis of norms on sexuality. This means that the comprehension of sex is something which should happen in wedlock solely for procreation. This way of understanding sexuality means that the NPD articulates prostitutes as perverted. By constructing them as perverted the NPD constructs prostitution as a social problem, hence prostitutes need help and protection. The NPD conducts prostitutes on the basis of this construction. We have also discovered that the understanding of prostitution has not changed since the adoption of the paragraphs on vagrancy because prostitution is still an illegal profession. The NPD has only terminated the legislative penalties of being a prostitute. The prostitutes still have no rights with regards to the labor market yet they must pay VAT and taxes.
Through an analysis of ‘conduct oneself’ we have identified that prostitutes have conducted their act and behavior to avoid being part of the social system because the NPD discursively constructs the prostitutes as victims. We can partly conclude that prostitutes, in an attempt to avoid the discursive construction as victims, organize their work in a way which makes it possible to avoid raids. The prostitutes also pay VAT and taxes as to not appear as criminals. We can conclude that the identified discourses aggravate the lives of prostitutes.
Udgivelsesdato28 dec. 2010
Udgivende institutionAalborg Universitet, Kandidatuddannelsen i Socialt Arbejde
ID: 43018235