Social worlds of stripping: The processual orders of exotic dance

Mindy S. Bradley-Engen, Jeffery T. Ulmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Is stripping exploitation? This ideological question often plagues exotic dance research, with diverse and often contradictory findings across the literature. Existent research highlights both potentially positive and negative experiences among women involved in exotic dance. In this article, we focus on the social organization of strip clubs and how this organization contextualizes the experiences and commitments of dancers. We present ethnographic data collected by the first author, including extensive field observations of 49 strip clubs, formal interviews from 50 dancers and ex-dancers at various career stages, and informal interviews with dozens of other dancers. We present a typology of strip clubs - hustle clubs, social clubs, and show clubs - and describe the processual orders. We also explain how the processual orders of these different types of clubs relate to dancers' workplace experiences. We conclude by discussing the implications of our findings for sociological and public understandings of sex work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-60
Number of pages32
JournalSociological Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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