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'Its all supply and demand': Market fatalism and norm construction by prostitution clients in the Netherlands and Belgium


  • Adriaenssens, Stef

    () (Hogeschool-Universiteit Brussel (HUB), Belgium)


Given the deviant nature of prostitution, expectations and information used to depend on clients personal experiences. This has changed fundamentally during recent decades. The emergence of user-generated websites discussing commercial sexual exchanges has allowed moral economies of prostitution as a distinctly social phenomenon to develop. This contribution reconstructs the social norms of prostitution clients with the help of a qualitative analysis of internet reviews by clients in the Netherlands and Belgium. Clients develop a dominant market fatalist approach to exchanges with sex workers, so that prostitution is constructed as "just happening" paralleling everyday consumption practices. It emulates mainstream exchanges, for example in fixed price norms. It is argued that this market fatalist approach consists of a moral economy concealed behind a veil of amorality. Reconciling these market fatalist expectations with an equally strong demand for authentic and personal experiences with the sex worker is further analysed and discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Adriaenssens, Stef, 2010. "'Its all supply and demand': Market fatalism and norm construction by prostitution clients in the Netherlands and Belgium," Working Papers 2010/18, Hogeschool-Universiteit Brussel, Faculteit Economie en Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:hub:wpecon:201018

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Peter G. Moffatt & Simon A. Peters, 2004. "Pricing Personal Services: An Empirical Study of Earnings in the UK Prostitution Industry," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 51(5), pages 675-690, November.
    2. Adriaenssens, Stef & Hendrickx, Jef, 2010. "Sex, price and preferences. Unsafe sexual practices in prostitution markets of the Low Countries," Working Papers 2010/05, Hogeschool-Universiteit Brussel, Faculteit Economie en Management.
    3. Marina Giusta & Maria Tommaso & Steinar Strøm, 2009. "Who is watching? The market for prostitution services," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 22(2), pages 501-516, April.
    4. Geertz, Clifford, 1978. "The Bazaar Economy: Information and Search in Peasant Marketing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 28-32, May.
    5. Holt, Thomas J. & Blevins, Kristie R. & Kuhns, Joseph B., 2008. "Examining the displacement practices of johns with on-line data," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 36(6), pages 522-528, November.
    6. Sanders, Teela, 2006. "Female sex workers as health educators with men who buy sex: Utilising narratives of rationalisations," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(10), pages 2434-2444, May.
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