Flawed Theory and Method in Studies of Prostitution
Author: Ronald Weitzer
In no areaof the social sciences has ideology contaminated knowledge more pervasively than in writings on the sex industry. Too often in this area, the canons of scientific inquiry are suspended
and research deliberately skewed to serve a particular political agenda. Much of this work has been done by writers who regard the sex industry as a despicable institution and who are active in campaigns to abolish it.
In this commentary, I examine several theoretical and methodological flaws in this literature, both generally and with regard to three recent articles in Violence Against Women. The articles in
question are by Jody Raphael and Deborah Shapiro (2004), Melissa Farley (2004), and Janice Raymond (2004). At least two of the authors (Farley and Raymond) are activists involved in the