The Devil's Chain: Prostitution and Social Control in Partitioned Poland by Keely Stauter-HalstedThe Devil's Chain: Prostitution and Social Control in Partitioned Poland by Keely Stauter-Halsted

The Devil's Chain: Prostitution and Social Control in Partitioned Poland

byKeely Stauter-Halsted

Hardcover | December 8, 2015

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In the half-century before Poland's long-awaited political independence in 1918, anxiety surrounding the country's burgeoning sex industry fueled nearly constant public debate. The Devil's Chain is the first book to examine the world of commercial sex throughout the partitioned Polish territories, uncovering a previously hidden conversation about sexuality, gender propriety, and social class. Keely Stauter-Halsted situates the preoccupation with prostitution in the context of Poland's struggle for political independence and its difficult transition to modernity. She traces the Poles’ growing anxiety about white slavery, venereal disease, and eugenics by examining the regulation of the female body, the rise of medical authority, and the role of social reformers in addressing the problem of paid sex.

Stauter-Halsted argues that the sale of sex was positioned at the juncture of mass and elite cultures, affecting nearly every aspect of urban life and bringing together sharply divergent social classes in what had long been a radically stratified society. She captures the experiences of the impoverished women who turned to the streets and draws a vivid picture of the social milieu that shaped their choices. The Devil’s Chain demonstrates that discussions of prostitution and its attendant disorders—sexual deviancy, alcoholism, child abuse, vagrancy, and other related problems—reflected differing visions for the future of the Polish nation.

Keely Stauter-Halsted is Professor of History and Stefan & Lucy Hejna Family Chair in the History of Poland at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is the author of The Devil's Chain: Prostitution and Social Control in Partitioned Poland and The Nation in the Village: The Genesis of Peasant National Identity in Austrian Poland, ...
Title:The Devil's Chain: Prostitution and Social Control in Partitioned PolandFormat:HardcoverDimensions:392 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.98 inPublished:December 8, 2015Publisher:CORNELL UNIVERSITY PRESSLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801454190

ISBN - 13:9780801454196

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Reforming the National Body

1. Out of the Shadows

2. On the Abyss: The Turn to Paid Sex

3. Sex and the Bourgeois Family

4. Narratives of Entrapment

5. Sex Trafficking and Human Migration

6. The Devil's Chain

7. Female Activism and the Shadow State

8. The Physician and the Fallen Woman

9. Purity and Danger: Prostitution Reform and the Birth of Polish Eugenics

10. Sex in the New Republic

Conclusion: Prostitution and the Shaping of the National Community

Editorial Reviews

"The Devil's Chain is a fascinating study of prostitution on Polish land during this period; a problem until now little known in our Polish historiography. Above all however—above the social processes, above the cultural conditions and the conditioned, social behaviors—a deep and immense empathy with the women’s drama is shown by Keely Stauter-Halsted, who presents women from different ethnic backgrounds, professing various religions. These women are engaged in the oldest practice in the world out of poverty and force, bought and sold, sent to various corners of the world. This is also a history of their social surroundings and a change in the social reaction of the rapid development of prostitution on the Polish lands at the turn of the twentieth century. Years of archival and library work, conducted primarily in Poland, allowed Stauter-Halsted to write this important book with professional mastery."—Krzysztof Zamorski, Jagiellonian University, Krakow