Buying and Selling Power: Anthropological Reflections on Prostitution in Spain


Buying and Selling Power examines the implications of the complex identities of clients and prostitutes to their lives beyond prostitution. Drawing on the author's extensive fieldwork in urban Spain as well as the work of queer theorists, Angie Hart explores the connections between these identities of clients and prostitutes and those of other sexual minorities such as lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals.

In exploring the power relationships among clients and prostitutes, Hart consistently emphasizes the role of male clients in heterosexual prostitution. Although she acknowledges the reality of gendered inequalities, she argues that client-prostitute relationships are more complex than many authors have previously suggested -- that, in this setting, clients are not invariably oppressive nor are prostitutes necessarily helpless victims.

Written in an autobiographical style, Buying and Selling Power reflects on the relationship between the anthropologist and that of his or her subject and informants. In particular, Hart explores the manner in which dominant identities (those of anthropologists and their informants) are constructed and the ways in which these dominant identities have marginalized other alternative identities.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Boulder, CO
Publication year:
  • 1998


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