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Cover for Neon Wasteland

Neon Wasteland

On Love, Motherhood, and Sex Work in a Rust Belt Town

Susan Dewey


List Price: 34.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (2/7/2011)


This path-breaking book examines the lives of five topless dancers in the economically devastated “rust belt” of upstate New York. With insight and empathy, Susan Dewey shows how these women negotiate their lives as parents, employees, and family members while working in a profession widely regarded as incompatible with motherhood and fidelity. Neither disparaging nor romanticizing her subjects, Dewey investigates the complicated dynamic of performance, resilience, economic need, and emotional vulnerability that comprises the life of a stripper. An accessibly written text that uses academic theories and methods to make sense of feminized labor, Neon Wasteland shows that sex work is part of the learned process by which some women come to believe that their self-esteem, material worth, and possibilities for life improvement are invested in their bodies.

Praise For Neon Wasteland: On Love, Motherhood, and Sex Work in a Rust Belt Town

“Dewey contributes to a growing wave of qualitative research on the sex industry.”
— Choice

“Fresh. . . . As keen as it is thorough. . . . Neon Wasteland is a provocative, highly readable analysis.”
— Kate W. Read & Yasmina Katsulis, Arizona State University Tempe

University of California Press, 9780520266919, 288pp.

Publication Date: February 7, 2011

About the Author

Susan Dewey is Assistant Professor of Gender & Women’s Studies and adjunct in International Studies at the University of Wyoming. She is the author of Making Miss India Miss World: Constructing Gender, Power, and the Nation in Postliberalization India and Hollow Bodies: Institutional Responses to Sex Trafficking in Armenia, Bosnia, and India.