Prostitution and the Shaping of the National Community
This concluding chapter argues that the concept of “community” is key to understanding how the sex trade was interpreted and internalized in Poland. The prostitutes who lined the streets of nineteenth-century Cracow, who occupied Saski Park in central Warsaw, or who wandered the Polish military encampments were depicted as distinctly un-Polish. Despite bearing all the cultural markings of Polish national membership, their social origins branded them as outside the world of Poland's elite actors. The underclass that staffed Poland's nineteenth-century bordellos and red-light districts was treated as an object of scorn and derision. Whether loathed or pitied, evidence shows that women working as prostitutes were held at arms' length from the social commentators who formed the conscience of the nation.
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