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Eine Begleiterin der Menschheit / A Companion of Mankind

Edited By Frank Jacob

Prostitution ist scheinbar genauso alt wie die Menschheit selbst und gilt nicht von ungefähr als das «älteste Gewerbe» überhaupt. Dieser Band versteht sich als interdisziplinäre, chronologisch sowie global umfassende Analyse des Phänomens und bietet dem Fachpublikum und dem interessierten Leser gleichermaßen eine breite Darstellung der Prostitution aus historischer, soziologischer, genderorientierter sowie kulturwissenschaftlicher Perspektive. Untersucht werden dabei die Rolle von Prostituierten in der Gesellschaft, die Rezeption des Gewerbes per se sowie die Rahmenbedingungen, unter denen sich ein solches etablieren kann.
Prostitution seems to be as old as humanity itself and is consequently not described as the «oldest profession» without cause. This anthology is an interdisciplinary, chronological and regional extensive approach to analyze the phenomenon. It provides a broad historical, sociological, cultural, and gender perspective on prostitution for the academic as well as the interested reader alike. It examines the role of prostitutes in society, the reception of the profession per se and the conditions due to which it is established.
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Addio, Wanda! Merlin Law and the Abolition of Case Chiuse in Italy


Before Merlin Law

Prostitution as a business thrived in the Middle-Ages in Europe and Italy makes no exception. However, it didn’t receive a great state attention until the fifteenth century. The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies granted the first license for a brothel in 1432; the Republic of Venice and other kingdoms followed, the Papal State included. A new way of dealing with prostitution appeared in the eighteenth century with Napoleon and the French Réglementation. Réglementarisme means that prostitution was a legal business, but it was somehow regulated by the state. For example, Napoleon ordered a registration in a special registry and a health inspection twice a week for all prostitutes.

Réglementarisme rapidly spread throughout Europe, partly aided by the Napoleonic occupations. In 1859 the Prime Minister of Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia, Count Camillo Benso di Cavour, signed a decree called Regolamento del servizio di sorveglianza sulla prostituzione [Regulation of monitoring service on prostitution]1 clearly following Napoleon’s footsteps and French Réglementation. By using a decree, Cavour succeeded in introducing the regulation without any public debate, probably attempting to avoid the spread of prostitution as a moral vice. The reasons why he decided to regulate this “vice” were to protect the army from venereal diseases, which had become widespread during the last war. At the time, the most worrying sexually-transmitted disease was syphilis,2 a sickness which was also branded with moral condemnation. Syphilis was not only a serious illness – incurable...

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