Sanders, Teela. 2018. „Enhancing the study of sex work“. Sexualities
, June 2018. https://doi.org/10.1177/1363460718771346
I write this as an academic who has focused on understanding the sex industry and advocating for the rights of sex workers in much of the time that Sexualities has been a space for the social sciences to enhance the study of sexuality through scholarship and thinking. I have approached this reflection specifically relating to the field of sex work, or what has been called ‘the sociology of sex work’ as a sub-discipline. For this reflection I reviewed all of the issues of the journal, a truly fascinating and indulgent exercise, to track how sex work research has emerged through the journal. There were some 47 articles directly relating to the sex industry/sex workers with many more circling the periphery of the broad subject.
Historically, academic literature on sex work has documented the changing debates, policies, and cultural discourse surrounding the sex industry, and their impact on the rights of sex workers worldwide. As sex work scholars look to the future of sex workers’ rights, however, we are also in a critical moment of self-reflection on how sex work scholarship engages with sex worker communities, produces knowledge surrounding sex work, and represents the lived experiences of sex workers’ rights, organizing, and activism. In this short Communication, proceedings from a recent sex work research symposium entitled, Sexual Economies, Politics, and Positionality in Sex Work Research are presented. Held at the Centre for Refugee Studies at York University, this symposium is a response to the need for sex work researchers, sex workers, and sex worker-led organizations to come together and critically examine the future of research on sex work and the politics of documenting sex workers’ rights.