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Tag Archives: Theory and Method

Kotiswaran, Prabha. „Do Feminists Need an Economic Sociology of Law?“ Journal of Law and Society 40(1) (2013): 115–36. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6478.2013.00615.x.
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Abstract
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Feminist legal scholars have long exposed the mutually constitutive relationship between the market and the social sphere, particularly, of the family, as mediated by the state. A peculiar division of labour has emerged in American feminist legal theorizing on the market in the context of care work, on the one hand, and sex work on the other. Care is valorized, thus entrenching the family‐market dichotomy while the sex‐work debates view the market as a source of harm and violence and therefore to be eliminated from the social. This produces a problematic feminist understanding of the market and generates legal reforms that produce unintended consequences for women themselves. The article offers an economic sociology of law pursued in legal ethnographic terms as a way of revitalizing contemporary feminist legal thought on the market and, indeed, the economy, illustrating its use in the context of international anti‐trafficking law and transnational surrogacy.

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Abstract
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Accounts of the governance of prostitution have typically argued that prostitutes are, in one way or another, stigmatised social outcasts. There is a persistent claim that power has operated to dislocate or banish the prostitute from the community in order to silence, isolate, hide, restrict, or punish. I argue that another position may be tenable; that is, power has operated to locate prostitution within the social. Power does not operate to ‘desocialise’ prostitution, but has in recent times operated increasingly to normalise it. Power does not demarcate prostitutes from the social according to some binary mechanics of difference, but works instead according to a principle of differentiation which seeks to connect, include, circulate and enable specific prostitute populations within the social. In this paper I examine how prostitution has been singled out for public attention as a sociopolitical problem and governed accordingly. The concept of governmentality is used to think through such issues, providing, as it does, a non-totalising and non-reductionist account of rule. It is argued that a combination of self-regulatory and punitive practices developed during modernity to manage socially problematic prostitute populations.

Full article available here.

Brunovskis, Anette, und May-Len Skilbrei. „Individual or Structural Inequality? Access and Barriers in Welfare Services for Women Who Sell Sex“. Social Inclusion 6, Nr. 3 (28. September 2018): 310–18. https://doi.org/10.17645/si.v6i3.1534.
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Abstract 
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It is often taken for granted that women who sell sex are vulnerable, that welfare services can and should alleviate this vulnerability, and as such, being defined as ‘vulnerable’ can be beneficial and associated with special rights that would otherwise be inaccessible. At the same time, ongoing debates have demonstrated that establishing individuals and groups as vulnerable tends to mask structural factors in inequality and has negative consequences, among them an idea that the path to ‘non-vulnerability’ lies in changing the ‘afflicted’ individuals or groups, not in structures or in addressing unequal access to resources. In this article, we take this as a starting point and discuss challenges for the welfare state in meeting the varied and often complex needs of sex sellers. Based on qualitative research with service providers in specialised social and health services in Norway, we examine access and barriers to services among female sex sellers as well as how vulnerability is understood and shapes what services are available. An important feature of modern prostitution in Norway, as in the rest of Western Europe, is that sex sellers are predominantly migrants with varying migration status and corresponding rights to services. This has influenced the options available to address prostitution as a phenomenon within the welfare state and measures that have previously been helpful for domestic women in prostitution are not easily replicated for the current target population. A starting point in a theoretical understanding that considers vulnerability to be a human predicament (rather than the exception to the rule or a deficit in individuals or groups) allows for a discussion that highlights the centrality of structural conditions rather than a need for change in the individual. In order to understand the limitations of the welfare state in addressing modern prostitution as such, it is highly relevant to look at the structural origin of vulnerabilities that may look individual.

The journal “Sexualities” published a discussion around Ronald Weitzer’s piece “Resistance to sex work stigma” in its September 2018 issue.

From the Editor’s Note:
“Professor Ronald Weitzer has written a short piece to Sexualities. It is a commentary in which Weitzer examines the notion of stigma in the context of sex work. He points out that stigma is not determined but has the possibility of change and suggests ‘a set of preconditions for the reduction and, ultimately, elimination of stigma from sex work’, which includes neutralization of language, a more balanced representation of sex work in the mass media, decriminalization, industry mobilization, sex worker activism, and intervention from the academia. We thought this piece would generate discussion and thus open up theoretical debate as well as practical concern about policy and legislation regarding sex work and stigma. We then invited scholars to comment and the following have agreed to write a commentary: Professor Teela Sanders, Professor Wendy Chapkis, Professor Jo Phoenix, and Professor Minichiello (together with Professor John Scott and Mr Cameron Cox).”

Read full note here (freely available).

The contributions to the discussion can be found here (paywall).

Jones, Angela. 2016. „“I Get Paid to Have Orgasms”: Adult Webcam Models’ Negotiation of Pleasure and Danger“. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 42 (1): 227–56. https://doi.org/10.1086/686758.
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This article makes several important contributions to the burgeoning literature on sex work in a digital era. The scholarly literature that has documented the use of the Internet by sex workers has focused almost entirely on prostitution and has yet to make adult webcam modeling a focal point of analysis. This article critically examines the ways in which entry into adult webcam modeling is facilitated by an expectation that sex work in cyberspace maximizes pleasure, primarily because it minimizes the risk of dangers associated with street-based sex work. I conduct content analyses of discussions on a popular online forum for webcam models to explore the themes of pleasure (erotic and affectual) and danger (capping, doxxing, and harassment) in adult webcam modeling. I argue that adult webcam models experience sexual and affectual pleasures in the course of their work and that they are able to experience these pleasures because the computer-mediated sexual exchange acts as a psychological barrier, and that the computer in turn becomes the primary tool that performers use for emotional management. My analysis focuses on how sex workers reconcile the pleasure in their work with the exploitation that is also found there. Here, these camgirls use neoliberal ideas to minimize the perception of danger of their work so that they can experience high levels of pleasure. I further open up a new dialogue about neoliberalism and sex workers by focusing on the neoliberal subject in this new form of sex work.

Full text available here.

Cohen, Bernard. 2018. „Police Enforcement of Street Prostitution as a Quality-of-Life Offense: New York City, United States, and Frankfurt am Main, Germany“. Deviant Behavior 0 (0): 1–18. https://doi.org/10.1080/01639625.2018.1431096.
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The present paper compares how police in Hunts Point, South Bronx, New York City and Frankfurt am Main Germany manage street prostitution as a quality-of-life offense. Methods utilized for this research include observation and “conversation” in public spaces with prostitutes, police, and community members. This paper deals with characteristics of street prostitutes, police enforcement, actual interaction between police and street actors, and impact of these methods on prostitutes. For decades, broken windows policing has been utilized to counter quality-of-life offenses in urban neighborhoods such as NYC, and evidence regarding its effectiveness has often been questioned. In attempts to address prostitution, two variant policing models were identified and examined through the framework of broken windows theory: Punitive/Criminalization Policing and Containment/Laissez-Faire Policing. Broken windows policing probably lowered the incidence of quality-of-life offenses including street prostitution. However, broken windows theory does not take into account socially constructed myths that persist about prostitution, nor the realities that counter them. This paper addresses these myths and how they may inform policing practices, resulting in negative corollary effects which must be eliminated.
Norberg, Kathryn. 2017. „The History of Prostitution Now“. Journal of Women’s History 29 (1): 188–96. https://doi.org/10.1353/jowh.2017.0014.
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Fifteen years ago, Timothy Gilfoyle published a lengthy essay devoted to the history of prostitution in the American Historical Review. He observed that in the last quarter of the twentieth century, historians complicated the history of prostitution “in ways unanticipated a generation ago.”1 As the six books reviewed here demonstrate, innovation in the history of sex work continues. Historians are now studying “up” rather than “down,” concentrating on brothel madams and luxury establishments rather than streetwalkers and street solicitation. Scholars today point to changing patterns of consumption and leisure (including tourism), rather than altered labor relations (like industrialization) to explain changes in the sex trade. Historians now importantly address previously neglected issues like colonialism, state building, and race to produce a more complex picture of the sex worker of the past and her business.