Romantische Prostitution: Liebe, Sexualität und Materialität im Kontext von "Prostitution" in Diego Suarez (Madagaskar)


Diana Carolina Mignano

Research Area:


The Western conception of prostitution is based on a dialectical construction of sexuality, which confronts legitimate forms of sexuality with illegitimate ones. In this perspective, marriage represents the space in which sexuality is permitted and is the only context where sexual relations can involve emotions. On the other hand, prostitution, understood as “indecent” sexuality, is believed to be driven solely by socio-economical motivations. This conception represents the basis for interpreting prostitution in Africa to this day. As a consequence, broader understandings of prostitution are excluded by definition, although women and men involved in this kind of relationship develop and construct ideas, feelings and expectations which go beyond socio-economical boundaries. Therefore, the project aims at exploring the role of emotions, feelings, sexuality, the body and romantic love play within these relationships. Based on ethnographic research among Malagasy women in Diego Suarez (Madagascar) who engage in sexual relationships in which money and other goods are exchanged for sexual services, this study aims to go beyond onesided economic understandings of prostitution, and thus to overcome the dichotomous construction of “decent” vs. “indecent” sexuality.