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Sex and StigmaStories of Everyday Life in Nevada's Legal Brothels$
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Sarah Jane Blithe, Anna Wiederhold Wolfe, and Breanna Mohr

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781479859290

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479859290.001.0001

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Brothels as Hidden Organizations

Brothels as Hidden Organizations

(p.195) 9 Brothels as Hidden Organizations
Sex and Stigma

Sarah Jane Blithe

Anna Wiederhold Wolfe

Breanna Mohr

NYU Press

This chapter examines the nature of the revelation-concealment dialectic faced by the brothels as these organizations work to strategically build visibility despite external pressures to keep them hidden and internal desires to protect the privacy of certain organizational stakeholders. Additionally, in instances of organizational visibility, the authors examine brothels’ strategies for managing core-stigma while attempting to project a socially-acceptable public image. Brothels address this revelation-concealment dialectic by adopting stigma-management strategies of distancing themselves from identities they perceive as socially undesirable and aligning themselves with non-stigmatized industry practices. At the same time, the brothels construct selectively-permeable organizational boundaries through the invitation of controlled outsider boundary-crossings and through the promotion of their own community-engagement efforts. These results extend research on hidden organizations to consider the particular image-management challenges faced by shadowed organizations.

Keywords:   Stigma, Brothels, Hidden Organizations, Prostitution, Sex work, Revelation-concealment, Image management

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