• Cecilie Torabi Strehlow
This master’s thesis revolves around an analysis of how twilight zone prostitution emerges discursively in the Danish, public debate.

The basis for carrying out this analysis is rooted in the necessity of understanding how we as a society continuously connote (different kinds of) meaning to what we construct as deviance and/or social problems. Thus, this analysis will seek to contribute with a deeper understanding of the different viewpoints on twilight zone prostitution in a Danish context.

To identify how these discourses on twilight zone prostitution are structured and constructed, the theoretical point of departure is based on the French philosopher Michel Foucault’s theorisations over discourses, subjects and power. This theoretical framework allows us to explore how and what social meaning is attributed to a phenomenon – in this case twilight zone prostitution – in a discursive formation and which consequences it inflicts upon the subjects involved.

Throughout the discourse analysis, it becomes quite obvious that we are dealing with roughly four different kinds of discursive constructions regarding the discursive formation around twilight zone prostitution. We deal with four archetypes of discourses, these being sugar dating, wherein the subjects are considered free to chose how they want to involve sex and money as key elements in the dating/romantic relation; skewed relationships, where there is an element of inequality revolving around sex and financial/practical support in a supposed romantic relation; sex work, where prostitution in the twilight zone is seen as an alternative edition of sex work, and should be seen as a legitimate profession on market conditions; and lastly a social problem, where prostitution in the twilight zone is a symptom of social vulnerability, especially in a youth context. Though, it has to be stressed that there are a lot of defining and understandings inbetween, but this is a cartography of the conceptual framework.
Furthermore, a theorisation over the effects of these divergent discourses is drafted, as a reflection over the dynamics in the discursive field. Here, it is argued that because of the contingency and the conflict inducing constructions of the discourses revolving around prostitution in the twilight zone, there is no strict and dominant idea of how to comprehend this phenomenon, let alone how to manage it in a social context or regarding legislation on the area.

To put another perspective on the analytical results, it is discussed whether the discursive practice concerning twilight zone prostitution is producing/a product of a moral panic, on the basis of Erich Goode and Nachman Ben-Yehuda’s theory of moral panics about social problems. The results of this discussion are somewhat ambiguous, where some could argue that there is a moral panic regarding prostitution in the twilight zone, and others could argue that the concern about the phenomenon is absolutely proportional to its extent, whereas it is classified as reasonable worry. All depending on which discursive manufacturing they are subscribing to.

Summarized, we can conclude that prostitution in the twilight zone is a phenomenon with many different facets, drawing on different discursive resources, which we now have identified and mapped out in the Danish, public debate. Because of this linguistic struggle on how to articulate and define the phenomenon indisputably, it becomes impossible to offer an unequivocal interpretation of subject, resulting in an ongoing negotiation on the power to define prostitution in the twilight zone.

Keywords: discourse analysis, twilight zone prostitution, Danish media, power, romantic relationships, sugar dating, prostitution, sex work, social problem
Publication date6 Jun 2018
Number of pages87
ID: 280462332