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What is a summary of the introduction of Porn Work by Heather Berg?

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In the introduction to her 2021 book Porn Work: Sex, Labor, and Late Capitalism, Heather Berg outlines the thematic concerns of her research and the analytical frameworks she will draw upon throughout the book, and then provides a historical overview of work in the pornography industry. Finally, she explains the methodology for her work and outlines the rest of the book.

The beginning of the book's introduction explores Berg's subject matter and the lenses she is using to approach it. Porn Work (as the title implies) will focus on porn performance from a labor standpoint, examining the ways in which porn performance is similar to and different from "straight" (non–sex work) jobs. Berg includes quotes from her interviews with porn performers, who all have different perspectives on the work they do. One performer, Conner Habib, at first rejects Berg's terminology of "porn worker," saying, "I don't like the 'worker' part ... I'll use 'porn star,' that's fine. I like being a constellation instead of a laborer." But other performers, according to Berg, do see themselves as workers no different from those in other industries. Habib himself had a dynamic perspective on this issue, which Berg alludes to in this introduction:

Habib's position on the "work" question would shift in the years after our first meeting, and he would become more interested in craftily appropriating the language of "sex work" than rejecting it—"as long as we misuse 'work,' we can erode it," he later said.

The rest of the introduction poses Berg's fundamental question of whether sex work is fundamentally different from other types of work. She suggests that

The difference here ... is sex, and that difference brings both particular vulnerabilities and resources—intensified state violence and stigma on the one hand and the potential for pleasurable refusal on the other.

Berg brings a feminist, anti-capitalist perspective to her analysis of porn work and explains that she will use the book to explore the class dynamics of the modern porn industry. In contrast to other scholarship on porn, she will focus on the labor and class aspects of porn rather than what it represents or how it is consumed (though these aspects are discussed in the book as well). She explains that her research is rooted in the perspectives of porn performers themselves; it is based on the interviews she has conducted with performers across the industry and across many axes of race and gender. The historical section of the introduction traces the history of porn work from its inception to the modern day of direct-to-consumer porn sites, and introduces readers to the aspects of late capitalism that Berg believes the modern porn industry embodies for the workers who labor within it.

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