Porn Work

Sex, Labor and Late Capitalism

By Heather Berg

Every porn scene is a record of people at work. But on-camera labor is only the beginning of the story. Part labor history, part ethnography illuminating the lives of the performers who work in the medium, “Porn Work” takes readers behind the scenes to explore what porn performers think of their work and how they intervene to hack it. It tells a story of crafty workers, faltering managers and shifting solidarities.

Blending extensive fieldwork with feminist and antiwork theorizing, “Porn Work” details entrepreneurial labor on the boundaries between pleasure and tedium. Rejecting any notion that sex work is an aberration from straight work, it reveals porn workers’ creative strategies as prophetic of a working landscape in crisis. In the end, it looks to what porn has to tell us about what’s wrong with work, and what it might look like to build something better.

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