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base of operations allowed Day to recruit both indoor (house) and outdoor (street) sex workers representing a diverse range of in- comes and backgrounds, and to maintain a stable and visible presence in a rapidly changing field setting for more than two decades.

Using thick description, Day delves into the personal lives, experiences, and stories shared with her, as both she, and her par- ticipants, grow older. Although life-history data were collected for several hundred sex workers over a 14-year period (354 for the first wave of data collection; 60 for the fi- nal wave), the sample itself is not described statistically. Thus, there are no easily identi- fiable sets of facts or statistics against which the reader may contextualize the core of the book, which concerns sex workers’ stories, the epithet of “public women,” methods by which sex workers keep activities, times, and places apart, the consequences of these divisions, and whether or not these divisions ever become reconciled.

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Day’s study is unique in the literature on sex work because it provides both prospec- tive and retrospective accounts by the same women at different times of their life. To ac- complish this task, Day illustrates how work and business strategies differ over time, and how different visions of the past, present, and future relate to those strategies.

Although Day worked in a GUM clinic to recruit her informants, this is not an ac- counting of sexually transmitted infections among prostitutes. Day attends to more broadly defined occupational health issues such as labor conditions, mental illness, and quality of life, as well as issues related to sex- uality, identity making, and the body. Using personal storytelling and life-history narra- tives as a central theme, this book touches on important practical issues such as the shift in local working conditions as a result of the influx of sex workers from overseas; sex-worker activism(s); health and safety; police and client relationships; peer rela- tionships, social stratification, and knowl- edge exchange; consumption practices and bodily investments; infertility, pregnancy, and motherhood; sexualities and identity

politics; and differing ideologies of person- hood, work, and business. Day’s tone is bleak and hopeless at times, reflecting, no doubt, a frustration with the many unful- filled dreams and failed enterprises of some of her participants.

Day is careful not to impose her own nar- rative over the lives of those with whom she worked. Hers is not a tragic commen- tary about “victims” of prostitution. It is not a set of stories about good girls gone bad; nor is it a story of redemption or reha- bilitation. Although she provides space for those who construct a more typical career trajectory (e.g., a straightforward answer as to why they engaged in sex work, the goal they aspired to, and whether they met that goal), Day is also careful to contrast these narratives with those from participants who live in the moment, year after year, with no clear purpose or end in sight. It is this contrast that provokes Day to interrogate oral history as a method of inquiry. Why do we (as anthropologists) elicit life histories in the first place? What makes them com- pelling to our readers? More specifically, what kinds of developments or inevitabili- ties do we imagine for those we study? What can we tell ourselves about those who don’t fit our expectations?

The beauty of this book lies in its com- plexities. Although the first half of the book serves to report and clarify particular points about life “on the game,” the second half is woven with philosophical journeys that may seem to have, at times, no clear end point or destination. This lack of a clear sense of pur- pose or progression is likely intentional, fit- ting with the book’s central argument that life histories do not necessarily follow the expected path, and that some of the partic- ipants actively resisted a more conventional telling of their lives that would fit with read- ers’ expectations.

Of particular interest is Day’s framing of “workers,” who tend to be younger, ver- sus “businesswomen,” who tend to be older or more experienced. Although workers re- tain a constant orientation to the present, and see sex work simply as something they are doing right now, businesswomen look



Book Reviews 299

at sex work as a career, or as a part of a larger career development scheme. Busi- nesswomen differed from workers not only in terms of their future orientation (e.g., goal setting, cultivation of clients, invest- ments), but also in the way in which they constructed meaning out of their past. It was businesswomen who imposed a more coherent narrative of their accomplishments (or failures) through conventional story- telling techniques and expected biographi- cal norms (e.g., turning points). It is they who, in Day’s words, “responded to a gen- eral morality tale about the shape a lifetime should or might take, in which images of continuity, development and progress are important” (p. 242).

Also central to this work is the constant interplay of and tensions between public and private. For example, Day character- izes her participants as migrants, not nec- essarily in the literal sense, but because they move between two compartmentalized worlds (work and home) that, at least for some, become increasingly difficult to rein- tegrate over time. She also addresses such matters as sexual citizenship, and specifi- cally, the intrusion of the state and the pub- lic (e.g., the “general” public, public opin- ion, or public health) into such (seemingly) private matters as sex and the body, the im- pact of stigma and symbolic violence on the everyday experience of inhabiting a public body (being a “public woman,” “common woman,” or prostitute), and the process of fragmentation and compartmentalization required to survive such a landscape.

Are these pieces ever reintegrated into a single story of the self over time? Not always. And because, as Day notes, the pro- cess of differentiation and eventual reinte- gration is such a central theme in the life- history genre, we are left wondering what the goals of this mode of inquiry should be, and indeed what kinds of assumptions we make in asking our participants to impose an ordered telling of their lives in the first place. It is precisely this dilemma that Day struggles with in the latter half of her book.

Although substantial portions of the book are descriptive, concrete, and highly

readable, those areas focusing on Day’s in- terpretations and conceptual arguments are more challenging. The main arguments in the book are not laid out in a way that makes them easy to identify, and it is some- times difficult to ascertain what, if any, gen- eralities could be made based on the re- search (this may, in fact, be intentional on Day’s part). However, On the Game would be useful in graduate-level courses in an- thropology or gender studies, as well as a courses in research design, oral history, or qualitative methods. Anyone interested in sex-work research, more specifically, should find this book refreshing in its broad and comprehensive scope. Day is to be com- mended for her earnest refusal to impose any neat and tidy generalities about the so- cial organization of everyday life “on the game.”

Pharmaceutical Reason: Knowledge and Value in Global Psychiatry. Andrew Lakoff. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005, x + 206 pp.

Michael Oldani Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice University of Wisconsin–Whitewater

With Pharmaceutical Reason, Andrew Lakoff has constructed an outstanding and important ethnography of experts, or, perhaps more accurately, of expertise. His work concerns psychiatry and psy- chiatric practices, specifically in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from the late 1990s to roughly 2003. Initially, what is most strik- ing about this work is that Lakoff man- ages to find a sociocultural setting where Freudian psychodynamics, in particular a Lacanian stream of psychoanalysis, remains dominant, or at least equal in terms of in- fluence, to the global form of biopsychia- try influenced by the Diagnostic and Sta- tistical Manual of Mental Disorders (fourth edition of the American Psychiatric Associa- tion 2000). He documents and analyzes the battle between these competing paradigms, in which the stakes are high both for experts



300 Medical Anthropology Quarterly

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