Nationalising women’s bodies: discourse and politics of prostitution in Ireland and Spain (1939-1975)

Palabras clave: prostitución, Irlanda, España, nacionalismo, cuerpos de las mujeres, catolicismo


This article explores how women’s sexuality has played a central role in building and reproducing the collective identity of the nation in two countries, Ireland and Spain. It argues how a nationalisation of women’s bodies created a symbolic and idealised version of womanhood, reinforced by a complex infrastructure of criminal code, places of rehabilitation and a system of surveillance operating through government, medical and religious institutions. We explore these processes through an analysis of the discourses governing prostitution in leading newspapers between 1939 and 1975, corresponding to the public nation-building projects to Catholic nationalism through the idealisation of family, motherhood and domestic life. Three key discourses from the newspaper coverage have been identified around prostitution: protecting the national body, the exile of women in prostitution and ordinary women as a threat, to trace the process of renewed nation building that occurred in both countries from the 1940s onwards.


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Ryan, Paul, y Alina Danet Danet. 2023. Nationalising Women’s Bodies: Discourse and Politics of Prostitution in Ireland and Spain (1939-1975). Clepsydra. Revista Internacional De Estudios De Género Y Teoría Feminista, n.º 24 (abril), 25-47.