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Monthly Archives: January 2014

Mathieu, Lilian (2003): The Emergence and Uncertain Outcomes of Prostitutes’ Social Movements, in: The European Journal of Women’s Studies, 10(1), S. 29–50.

Full article

Abstract

This article is a comparative study of five prostitutes’ social movements. The emergence of these movements is one of the major developments in the politics of prostitution: for the first time, prostitutes are politically organizing and expressing their claims and grievances in the public debate about prostitution – a debate from which they are usually excluded. But, as is the case for most stigmatized populations, this pretension to enter into the public debate is faced with many difficulties. Some of these are inherent to the world of prostitution, which is an informal, competitive and violent world, in which leaders face constant challenges to establish and maintain their authority and legitimacy. The article also emphasizes the crucial, but ambiguous, role played by alliances between prostitutes and people from other parts of society (especially feminists). Prostitutes’ dependence on these supporters leads the author to consider their social movements to be heteronomous mobilizations.

Minichiello, Victor/Scott, John/Callander,
Denton (2013): New Pleasures and Old Dangers: Reinventing Male Sex
Work, in: Journal of Sex Research, 50(3-4), pp.
263-275.

DOI:
10.1080/00224499.2012.760189

Abstract

Understandings
of male sex workers (MSWs) shift with technological,
conceptual, and social changes. Research has historically
constructed MSWs as psychologically unstable, desperate, or
destitute victims and their clients as socially deviant perverts.
These perceptions, however, are no longer supported by contemporary
research and changing societal perceptions of
the sex industry, challenging how we understand and
describe “escorts.” The changing understandings of sexuality and
the increasing power of the Internet are both important forces
behind recent changes in the structure and organization of MSWs.
The growth in the visibility and reach of escorts has created
opportunities to form an occupational account of MSWs that better
accounts for the dynamic and diverse nature of the MSW experience
in the early 21st century. Recent changes in the structure and
organization of male sex work have provided
visibility to the increasingly diverse geographical distribution of
MSW, the commodification of race and racialized desire, new
populations of heterosexual men and women as clients, and the
successful dissemination of safer sexual messages to MSWs through
online channels. This article provides a broad overview of the
literature on MSWs, concentrating its focus on studies that have
emerged over the past 20 years and identifying areas for future
research.

Venkatesh, Sudhir (2013): Underground Markets as Fields in Transition: Sex Work in New York City, Sociological Forum, Volume 28, Issue 4, pages 682–699, December 2013

Abstract

Most ethnographers visualize their fieldwork study vis-à-vis their long-term commitment to a bounded sociospatial context—an “ecology.” In this manner, the majority of ethnographic studies are presented as studies not only of practices but also of recognizable physical ecologies that breathe life into the practices—for example, homes, ghettos, firms, schools, and so on. In the pages that follow, I consider the ways in which the status of place has shifted in urban sex work. The shifting commerce of sexual services in New York enables me to open up a set of methodological issues about the role of space in ethnographic work. One in particular is at the core of this paper: namely, because so many ethnographic labors begin with the selection of a field site, what conceptual issues arise that fieldworkers must pay attention to vis-à-vis that decision? For example, the field site may change, the field site may itself be shaped by wider societal forces, and it may be simply dissolve over time. How does any of this impact a technique that is premised on the dependability of “sitting” so that others may be dependably followed? I draw on the notion of “strategic action fields” to present an alternative analytic framework, one more useful for the challenges ethnographers face.

O’Brien, Erin: Fuelling traffic Abolitionist claims of a causal nexus between legalised prostitution and trafficking, Crime Law Soc Change (2011) 56:547–565 DOI 10.1007/s10611-011-9334-1

Full article available here

Abstract

Over the last decade, researchers and legislators have struggled to get an accurate picture of the scale and nature of the problem of human trafficking. In the absence of reliable data, some anti-prostitution activists have asserted that a causal relationship exists between legalised prostitution and human trafficking. They claim that systems of legalised or decriminalised prostitution lead to increases in
trafficking into the sex industry. This paper critically analyses attempts to substantiate this claim during the development of anti-trafficking policy in Australia and the United States. These attempts are explored within the context of persistent challenges in measuring the scale and nature of human trafficking. The efforts of abolitionist campaigners to use statistical evidence and logical argumentation are analysed, with a specific focus on the characterisation of demand for sexual services and systems of legalised prostitution as ‘pull’ factors fuelling an increase in sex
trafficking. The extent to which policymakers sought to introduce evidence-based policy is also explored.