The Question of Moral Worth in a Controversial Market: Moral Justification Regimes and Boundary Work Among Israeli Men Who Pay for Sex Abroad

Yeela Lahav-Raz*, Ayelet Prior, Einat Peled

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined the internal moral debate that takes place among Israeli men who pay for sex (MWPS) while traveling abroad. We explored how they construct their sense of moral worth and present themselves as moral subjects in light of the intensified stigmatization of their actions. Using the theoretical frameworks of pragmatic morality and boundary work, we conceptualize four main moral justification regimes that MWPS use to construct themselves as moral subjects: Cultural normalization; Conditional freedom of choice; The altruistic act of charity; and Unpacking the Stigma Discourse. The findings highlight how these justification regimes are anchored in three intersecting fields–cultural, spatial, and power relations–which produce various matrices of conflict, compromise, or collaboration in different situations. Thus, the flexible switching between various justification regimes reveals how MWPS define themselves and their activities and negotiate various moral dispositions–akin to various cultural logics–in the context of moral taint and stigma.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Sex Research
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

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