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Sociology

Anthony Marcus & Robert Riggs & Amber Horning & Sarah Rivera & Ric Curtis & Efram Thompson. “Is Child to Adult as Victim is to Criminal? Social Policy and Street-Based Sex Work in the USA” Sex Res Soc Policy (2012) 9:153–166DOI 10.1007/s13178-011-0070-1

Longstanding policy debates over how prostitution/sex work should be thought about and responded to have been upended in the USA by a growing tendency to conflate the practice with sex trafficking. US law and social policy have converged most fully on this issue in a movement to eradicate what has come to be known as the commercial sexual exploitation of children. One outcome of this movement has been an expanded focus on prosecuting and imprisoning pimps and other legal adults who support or abet juridical minors involved in the sex trade. This paper will show that the simplistic, one-size-fits-all narrative of the child victim and the adult exploiter inherent in this policy does not reflect the realities of street-based sex work in the USA. After 2 years of ethnographic and social network research in two cities, we find that sex market-involved young people participate in a great diversity of market–facilitation relationships, many of which provide the only or the most crucial foundation for their support networks. A social policy based on a one-dimensional construction of the child victim and the adult exploiter not only endangers these crucial relationships but also disappears the real needs of young people involved in the exchange of sex for money.

Full text available here.

Maginn, Paul and Ellison, Graham, ‘Ulster Says No’: Regulating the Consumption of Commercial Sex Spaces and Services in Northern Ireland (September 13, 2016). Urban Studies, Forthcoming.

Commercial forms of sex such as prostitution/sex work, strip clubs and even sex shops have been the subject of much political debate and policy regulation over the last decade or so in the UK and Ireland. These myriad forms of commercial sex and land usage have managed to survive and even thrive in the face of public outcry and regulation. Despite being part of the UK we suggest that Northern Ireland has steered its own regulatory course, whereby the consumption of commercial sexual spaces and services have been the subject of intense moral and legal oversight in ways that are not apparent in other UK regions. Nevertheless, in spite of this we also argue that the context of Northern Ireland may provide some lessons for the ways that religious values and moral reasoning can influence debates on commercial sex elsewhere.

Full text available here.

Ross, Becki L. “Sex and (Evacuation from) the City: The Moral and Legal Regulation of Sex Workers in Vancouver’s West End, 1975—1985.” Sexualities 13.2 (2010): 197-218.

For more than a century, prostitution in Vancouver, British Columbia has been at the centre of legal and political debate, policing, media coverage, and policy-making. From 1975 to 1985, a heterogeneous, pimp-free community of sex workers lived and worked on and around Davie Street in the city’s emerging ‘gay’ West End. Their presence sparked a vigorous backlash, including vigilante action, from multiple stake-holders intent on transforming the port town into a ‘world class city’ and venerable host of the World’s Fair, ‘Expo 1986’. In this article, drawing from interviews and archival material, I examine the abolitionist strategies adopted by Vancouver’s residents’ groups, business owners, politicians, and police to criminalize street solicitation and evacuate prostitutes who, in small numbers, ‘whorganized’ to fight back. The collective disavowal of sex workers as citizens was premised on the ‘cleansing’ of the zone under siege, which became whitened and made safe for bourgeois (queer) capitalism, with lethal consequences for outdoor sex workers in the city.

Full text available here.

Jacobsen CM, Stenvoll D: “Muslim women and foreign prostitutes: victim discourse, subjectivity, and governance”. Soc Polit. 2010;17(3):270-94

Abstract:

In this article, we juxtapose the ways “Muslim women” and “foreign prostitutes” are commonly constituted as victims in media and politics. We analyze the functions of these two prototypical female victims in terms of the role they play in epitomizing “the problems of globalization” and in reinforcing the existing social and political structures. Victim discourse, when tied to the transnational proliferation of the sex industry and of (radical) Islam, has depoliticizing effects because it places nonindividual causes of victimization outside of “our” polity and society and casts the state as protector and neutral arbiter of national and global inequalities, marginalization, and social conflict.

Full text available here.

Don Kulick, “Sex in the New Europe: The Criminalization of Clients and Swedish Fear of Penetration”. Anthropological Theory June 2003 vol. 3 no. 2, 199-218.

Abstract:

This article is a critical discussion of the 1998 Swedish law that made it a crime to purchase or attempt to purchase `a temporary sexual relationship’. It discusses the cultural context in which the law was proposed and passed, and it reviews newspaper articles and government commissioned reports that assess the effects of the law. The point of the article is to argue that the law is about much more than its overt referent `prostitution’. Instead, the argument is made that the law is a response to Sweden’s entry into the EU. For a variety of reasons, anxiety about Sweden’s position in the EU is articulated through anxiety about prostitution. The Swedish case is one where we can see that sexuality is one site where boundaries and roles in the new Europe are being imagined and negotiated.

Full text available here.

Kerwin Kaye, “Sex and the unspoken in male street prostitution”. Journal of Homosexuality (2007) 53(1-2):37-73.

Abstract:

Although the overwhelming majority of male prostitutes work through agencies or by placing their own ads, most studies of male prostitution focus upon young men who work on the street. Remarkably, these studies seldom identify the dynamics of poverty and street-level violence as important elements of their examination. Investigations of male sex work-few though they are-focus almost exclusively upon sexual aspects of “the life.” Despite the importance of these networks in shaping the contours of street life, and often in enabling one’s very survival, the primary research focus has remained on questions of sexual identity, sexual practices with clients, and sexual abuse as a causative factor. Meanwhile, studies that do examine the dynamics of male street life typically do not examine questions of prostitution or other issues related to sexuality. A dominant theme within this literature consists of specifying the social mores of the most aggressive and socially problematic participants within street society, particularly gang members and drug dealers. The dissimilar nature of these images relates directly to the political projects of the dominant culture, which, in a very general way, seeks to “rescue” (reintegrate) deviant white youth, while controlling and excluding deviant youth of color. The political aim of reintegrating runaways into middle-class trajectories has the effect of authorizing certain discourses regarding their behavior on the streets, while marginalizing or completely disallowing others. This article seeks to examine and challenge these trends of representation.

Full text available here.

Anuja Agrawal, “Kinship and trafficking: The case of the Bedia community” (2003) Canadian Woman Studies, Vol 22 Nos 3-4, p.131

Introduction (our translation): “This article discusses the link between sex work and prostitution in India. While one is assured that prostitutes are sold without the consent of their families, the case of the Bedia community shows how the economy of these families is linked to the sex trade. The author hopes that trafficking of women for prostitution is reexamined in light of the role played by families and kinship.”

Full text (in English) available here.