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Tag Archives: Representations

Cheng, Sealing. “Echoes of Victimhood: On Passionate Activism and ‘Sex Trafficking.’” Feminist Theory, Oct. 2019, doi:10.1177/1464700119881303.
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The sexually violated woman has become a salient symbol in feminist discourse, government policies, the media and transnational activism at this historical juncture. In this article, I seek to understand the conviction of anti-prostitution activists that all women in prostitution are victims (despite evidence to the contrary), and their simultaneous dismissal or condemnation of those women who identify as sex workers. The analysis identifies the centrality of victimhood to the affective logic of women activist leaders in the anti-prostitution movement, and its embeddedness in discourses of suffering and redemption in Korean nationalist historiography. Sexual victimhood thus acquires the power to incite moral outrage, compel consensus and inhibit dissent. Sex workers further come to bear the historical and political burden of righting all that is wrong with the nation, making their elimination essential for the nation’s rescue. Critiques of capitalism and the state become footnotes and silences in this process. In effect, the victimhood of ‘prostituted women’ allows women activists to circulate effectively in the affective economy of the nation as well as in the global anti-trafficking campaign. The passionate activism of anti-prostitution women activists may say less about the state of prostitution than about the activists’ subjectivity as historical and global subjects, and the symbolic world that they locate themselves in.

Sagredos, Christos. 2019. ‘The Representation of Sex Work in the Greek Press’. Journal of Language and Sexuality 8 (2): 166–94. https://doi.org/10.1075/jls.18012.sag.
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The representation of sex work in the media has received little to no attention in the field of linguistics and discourse analysis. Given that news discourse can have a huge impact on public opinions, ideologies and norms, and the setting of political agendas and policies (van Dijk 1989), the study adopts a Corpus-Assisted Critical Discourse Analysis (CACDA) approach (Baker, Gabrielatos, KhosraviNik, Krzyżanowski, McEnery & Wodak 2008), seeking to explore whether journalists reproduce or challenge negative stereotypes vis-à-vis sex work. Examining 82 articles published in three Greek newspapers () in 2017, this paper considers the lexico-grammatical choices that are typically involved in the representation of sex work and sex workers in the Press. Drawing on Systemic Functional Linguistics, the Discourse Historical Approach and corpus linguistics, the analysis links the textual findings (micro-level context) with the discourse practice context (meso-context) as well as the social context in which sex work occurs (macro-context). Findings illustrate that although sex work in Greece has been legalised for about two decades, traces of abolitionist discourses can be found in the Press, building barriers in the emancipatory efforts of sex workers who stand up for having equal civil and labour rights as their fellow citizens.

Baker, Carrie N. Racialized Rescue Narratives in Public Discourses on Youth Prostitution and Sex Trafficking in the United States. Politics & Gender: 1–28. doi:10.1017/S1743923X18000661.
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This article presents an analysis of how activists, politicians, and the media framed youth involvement in the sex trade during the 1970s, the 1990s, and the 2000s in the United States. Across these periods of public concern about the issue, similar framing has recurred that has drawn upon gendered and racialized notions of victimization and perpetration. This frame has successfully brought attention to this issue by exploiting public anxieties at historical moments when social change was threatening white male dominance. Using intersectional feminist theory, I argue that mainstream rhetoric opposing the youth sex trade worked largely within neoliberal logics, ignoring histories of dispossession and structural violence and reinforcing individualistic notions of personhood and normative ideas about subjectivity and agency. As part of the ongoing project of racial and gender formation in US society, this discourse has shored up neoliberal governance, particularly the build-up of the prison industrial complex, and it has obscured the state’s failure to address the myriad social problems that make youth vulnerable to the sex trade.

David, Marion. 2018. „The Moral and Political Stakes of Health Issues in the Regulation of Prostitution (the Cases of Belgium and France)“. Sexuality Research and Social Policy, Mai, 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13178-018-0333-1.
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Many studies have demonstrated the prominent role legal frameworks and local policies play in the shaping of prostitution, by informing to a large extent the conditions governing the exercise of the sex trade, while promoting a certain definition of this activity and its protagonists. However, the role of private organizations delegated the mission of providing social or medical assistance to people selling sex should not be overlooked. These organizations are still under-researched, despite the fact that they often occupy a pivotal position between those involved in the sex trade, public authorities, and the general population. Our contribution aims to provide an overview of the relevant landscape of third sector organizations in both Belgium and France and, more specifically, retrace the genesis of associations that have implemented programs to prevent sexually transmitted infections. We will also examine their relations with the public authorities and the legitimacy they enjoy in each country, before highlighting their potential influence on the structuring of representations and regulation of prostitution.

Cooper, Emily, Ian R. Cook, und Charlotte Bilby. „Sex Work, Sensory Urbanism and Visual Criminology: Exploring the Role of the Senses in Shaping Residential Perceptions of Brothels in Blackpool“. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, o. J., n/a-n/a. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-2427.12581.
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Urban studies and criminology have much to offer each other, but the links between the two have so far been underexplored. This article is an illustration of how aspects of both can, and should, be brought into conversation: namely the literatures on sensory urbanism (in urban studies) and visual criminology. The benefits of doing so are evidenced by a case study exploring the ways in which the senses shape residents’ perceptions of brothels in Blackpool. Three key findings emerge from the case study. First, the residents interviewed tended to focus on the visual aspects of brothels rather than other sensory aspects. Nevertheless, touch and smell (and their interaction with the visual) also played small but important roles in shaping residential perceptions. Second, residential perceptions of sex work and brothels are linked to, and encompass, a plurality of emotional responses. Third, while the residents could see or hear little of what was happening inside the brothels, they often sought out sensory clues from outside, typically drawn from the architectural features of the brothels. Such insights, we argue, are made possible by, and highlight the possibilities of, the bringing together of urban studies and criminology.
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Paradoxically, in the 19th century, an era very concerned with public virtue, prostitutes were increasing being represented in Western European cultural expressions. Prostitution was a prevalent social phenomenon due to the rapid urbanization of Western Europe. People were on the move as both urban and rural areas underwent considerable material and normative change; the majority of Western European cities grew rapidly and were marked by harsh working and living conditions, as well as unemployment and poverty. A seeming rise in prostitution was one of the results of these developments, but its centrality in culture cannot be explained by this fact alone. Prostitution also came to epitomize broader social ills associated with industrialization and urbanization: “the prostitute” became the discursive embodiment of the discontent of modernity.

The surge in cultural representation of prostitutes may also be seen as an expression of changing norms and a driver for change in the public perception of prostitution. In particular, artists came to employ the prostitute as a motif, revealing contemporary hypocrisy about gender and class.

Pitcher, Jane. „Intimate Labour and the State: Contrasting Policy Discourses with the Working Experiences of Indoor Sex Workers“. Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 2. März 2018, 1–13.
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Drawing on an interview-based study with indoor-based sex workers of different genders in Great Britain, this paper explores the disparity between dominant policy representations of sex workers and the working lives of people selling intimate services. I argue certain policy discourses reinforce narratives of vulnerability and coercion when discussing female sex workers and responses to perceived ‘problems’ of prostitution and neglect the needs of male and transgender sex workers. I contrast messages in policy discourses with the experiences of sex workers across indoor sectors. My study found considerable diversity in working experiences, influenced by factors such as work setting, personal circumstances and aspirations. While some people may view sex work as a short-term option, for others it represents a longer-term career. For some, sex work may offer greater job satisfaction and control over working conditions than other jobs available. Nonetheless, external constraints sometimes make it difficult for them to work safely. I argue state discourses fail to reflect the diverse experiences of sex workers and undermine their agency, perpetuating disrespect and excluding them from human and labour rights. I suggest the need to consider policy approaches shaped according to varied circumstances and settings, drawing on the expertise of sex workers.