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The Devil's ChainProstitution and Social Control in Partitioned Poland$
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Keely Stauter-Halsted

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780801454196

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801454196.001.0001

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Sex and the Bourgeois Family

Sex and the Bourgeois Family

(p.79) Chapter 3 Sex and the Bourgeois Family
The Devil's Chain

Keely Stauter-Halsted

Cornell University Press

This chapter describes the harsh treatment of Polish middle-class society toward prostitution. These bourgeois, mostly urban residents, hired part-time prostitutes as domestic servants, who served as cooks, nannies, housecleaners, and personal assistants. Relations between servants and masters were so cruel in certain households that commentators characterized this dynamic as an extension of serfdom. Servants could be fired without cause, often leaving them with nowhere to turn to for help. Their legally mandated minimum salary—a mere fraction of wages paid to female factory workers—were frequently violated or withheld. More importantly, service regulations permitted employers to punish their servants as needed, including whipping them for failure to fulfill their responsibilities.

Keywords:   middle-class society, prostitution, bourgeois, prostitutes, serfdom, service regulations, punishment, servants, masters

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