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Sanders, Teela. 2018. „Enhancing the study of sex work“. Sexualities, June 2018. https://doi.org/10.1177/1363460718771346.
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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.
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Büschi, Eva, ‘Sex Work and Violence: Focusing on Managers in the Indoor Sex Industry’, Sexualities, 17 (2014), 724–41 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1363460714531271&gt;

Abstract 

Sex work is defined from a liberal-feminist view as the negotiating and provision of sexual services by adults in return for payment. In Switzerland, sex work is basically legal and tolerated. The present study does not problematize the nature of sex work. It is considered here as a form of gainful employment rather than deviant behaviour, sexual risk behaviour or violence per se. In a qualitative study using problem focused guided interviews, 13 managers of brothels and contact bars in a Swiss city were questioned about their organizing of work, about working conditions, violence and its prevention. The content analysis of the data (Mayring, 2007) generated a manager typology (based on Kelle and Kluge, 1999). The results project four manager types: (I) collegial all-rounders who run small establishments; (II) co-operative managers of medium-size commercial premises; (III) authoritarian managers of medium-size and large brothels or contact bars and (IV) self-sacrificing managers of medium-size brothels. In respect to violence, these four types are characterized by association with differential degrees of potential risk for sex workers. While types I and IV can be classified as more risky in relation to violence and safety due to their specific characteristics, types II and III are clearly less dangerous for the sex workers. All the managers have introduced protective measures to prevent violence, yet they do not have a specific (explicitly formulated) strategy. In conclusion, the study shows that structural basic conditions and specific organizational working conditions impact on the risk of violence.

Campbell, R and O’Neill, M (eds) (2006) Sex Work Now, Willan Publishing.

Preview at Google Books

Sex Work Now provides an authoritative overview of female sex work and policy in the UK, and addresses a number of key contemporary issues and debates. These include sex worker unionization, migrant sex work and trafficking, communities and sex work, male clients of sex workers, the policing of prostitution, zoning of street sex work, young people and sexual exploitation, drug use and sex work, exiting, violence and sex work. Throughout the book is shaped by the lives and experiences of sex workers themselves drawing on applied, policy or participatory action research. This book approaches the subject from an interdisciplinary perspective, cutting across conventional boundaries of sociology, criminology, politics and social policy. Contributors to the book include academics, researchers, practitioners and activists who are among the leading commentators on prostitution in the UK. provides overview of sex work in UK considers impact of recent legislation and policy, especially Sex Offences Act 2003 focus on lives and experiences of sex workers themselves

Decriminalization of Sex Work: Feminist Discourses in Light of Research, by Jacqueline Comte (2013)

Three main ideological stances exist regarding sex work issues: abolitionism, sex-positive feminism, and decriminalization. We argue for decriminalization based on decades of research results. Research on female sex workers is most often done through feminist theory and focus on gender relationships and on the experience of oppression and/or agency. Such studies examine the motivations to do sex work, the experience of being objectified, the stigma related to sex work, and, finally, the impact of this kind of work on self-esteem, on couple relationships, and on social relationships. Research on male sex workers examines power dynamics, representations of masculinity, self-perception, and the socioeconomic conditions that lead to sex work and influence safe-sex practices. Usually, feminist approaches do not take the experiences of male sex workers into account. However, taking these experiences into consideration would give a broader perspective to the understanding of sex work, as the experiences of male sex workers show many aspects similar to those of female sex workers. We contend that a woman’s sexual experience has been socially constructed as being part of her identity, in such a way that she becomes socially devalued whenever she does not comply to norms, thus making sex work a ‘degrading’ experience even though it is not intrinsically so.