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Economic LivesHow Culture Shapes the Economy$
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Viviana A. Zelizer

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780691139364

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691139364.001.0001

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Money, Power, and Sex

Money, Power, and Sex

(p.150) 8 Money, Power, and Sex
Economic Lives

Viviana A. Zelizer

Princeton University Press

This chapter looks at sexually tinged relationships. It builds on a two-dimensional classification of sexual relationships dependent on their duration (brief or durable) and their breadth (narrow or broad). It adds a new and interesting complication: that the organizational setting in which a sexually tinged relationship occurs significantly affects its meaning, its appropriate economic transaction, and the efforts of third parties to control or suppress them. The chapter stresses the following points: (1) The widespread belief that money corrupts intimacy blocks our ability to describe and explain how money, power, and sex actually interact. (2) The opposite belief—that sex operates like an ordinary market commodity—serves description and explanation no better. (3) The intersection of sex, money, and power does indeed generate confusion and conflict, but that is precisely because participants are simultaneously negotiating delicate, consequential, interpersonal relations and marking differences between those relations and others with which they could easily and dangerously be confused. (4) In everyday social life, people deal with these difficulties with a set of practices we can call “good matches.”

Keywords:   sexual relationships, economic transactions, money, intimacy, power

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