Since the late 1990s, many countries have been debating what prostitution policies to apply, and, particularly in Europe, several have changed the overall approach to the phenomenon and the people involved. Prostitution is more than ever before firmly placed on policy agendas as a topic related to gender equality and globalization. Furthermore, it is seen in context with issues relating to organized crime, health, and gentrification. In both policy debates and the academic discourse, particular ways of regulating prostitution are treated as models and a central discussion is which model among these works best. In this article, I argue that this search for a best practice of prostitution policy that can be transferred to and work similarly in a new jurisdiction builds on a lack of understanding of the importance of context and implementation. How policies work depends on, among other factors, aims, implementation structures, and characteristics of local prostitution markets. But I present a broad spectrum of research to clarify what should be taken into consideration when assessing policies’ abilities to achieve diverse goals. I argue that a fundamental problem in both prostitution policy debates and scholarship is that the arguments over prostitution policies have become too detached from the many and differing contexts in which these policies operate and I propose a way forward for resear
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.