Cultural Criminology and Sex Work: Resisting Regulation through Radical Democracy and Participatory Action Research (PAR)

Cultural Criminology and Sex Work: Resisting Regulation through Radical Democracy and Participatory Action Research (PAR)

Journal of Law and Society Volume 37, Issue 1, pages 210–232, March 2010

Author: Maggie O’Neill

Abstract: Taking a feminist cultural criminological analysis to the regulation of sex work in the United Kingdom, this paper argues against the dominant deviancy and the increasingly abolitionist criminal justice model for regulating sex work. The paper begins by offering a critique of the dominant regulatory regimes which have operated since the Victorian era, amended in part in the 1950s with Wolfenden, and currently being reinscribed with the Home Office strategy on prostitution and various pieces of legislation. The focus is specifically upon research with female sex workers and the usefulness of using Participatory Action research methodologies (PAR) with sex workers, agencies, and policy makers in order to foreground the diverse voices and experiences of sex workers, challenge the current focus on abolitionist criminal justice regimes and outcomes, and offer an alternative framework for a cultural materialist analysis of sex work, drawing upon the work of Nancy Fraser.

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