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Sex Work, Policy and Politics

Other Titles in:
Criminology | Sex Crimes | Women & Crime

232 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Many commentators have attempted to analyze and explain the nature of prostitution. However this is the first textbook to offer a complete overview of the way it operates within contemporary society, its characteristics, organizational structures, and cultural contexts. The book also explores how criminal, social, and health policies have sought to regulate and control the selling of sex.

Key Features

  • Covers all key areas common to the study of the female sex industry and also includes male and transgender sex work and the sexual exploitation of young people
  • Combines sociological approaches with criminology, criminal justice studies, social policy, health research, and sexuality studies
  • Includes the international context of the sex industry, drawing on European and other examples of law, regulation, and systems that govern the sex industry
  • Offers a lively writing style, case studies, summaries of relevant legislation, study questions, and guidance on further reading
  • Assists student learning and aids lecturers in their teaching

Written by leading experts with over 20 years' experience in researching and teaching on the field, this is a must for all criminology, criminal justice, and sociology students taking modules in sex industry and prostitution studies. It will also appeal to those in gender studies and social policy.

The Sociology of Sex Work
The Cultural Context of Commerce and Sex
Sex Workers and Sex Work
Children, Young People and Commercial Sexual Exploitation
Buying Sexual Services
Sex Workers, Labour Rights and Unionization
Crime, Justice and the Sex Industry
Communities, Services and Welfare
Globalization and the Sex Trade
Researching the Sex Industry

This imaginative and comprehensive introduction to the sex industry is as welcome as it is timely.... This is a rewarding and topical book that I would urge all interested parties to consult.

Graham Scambler, Professor of Medical Sociology
University College London

A remarkably thorough analysis of prostitution in contemporary society. Situating sex work at the intersection of economy, occupation, and emotion, the authors illuminate the complex forces that shape prostitution within an emerging global order. Bringing their analysis full circle, they close with a helpful exploration of the methods by which researchers are able to investigate an area of such danger and controversy. All in all, a courageous and important book.
Jeff Ferrell, Visiting Professor of Criminology
University of Kent, UK,and
Professor of Sociology
Texas Christian University, USA.

This excellent text fills a gap in the market as it explores the full range of issues covering sex work, policy and politics....A fascinating and informative text which will become the leading handbook in this area.
Dr Louise Westmarland, Senior Lecturer in Criminology,
The Open University

This is an excellent text that we recommend to our students as additional reading for all and essential for those who are completing projects where this is particularly relevant.

Mr Stephen Moss
School of Social Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University
December 3, 2010

An excellent book for research methods, gives good information and guidance in the theories, ethics and importantly, practicalities of this very difficult subject area.

Dr Richard Peake
Law , Leeds University
November 14, 2010

Sanders has produced an excellent text on an area that has historically lacked academic attention. Essential reading for those interested in contemporary topics.

Mr Stuart Agnew
Social Science , University Campus Suffolk Ltd
May 27, 2010

This sensitive topic is handled really well, an incisive book for all students in this area.

Ms Julie Burton
Psychology , Lincoln University
November 2, 2009

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Teela Sanders

Teela Sanders is Professor of Criminology at the University of Leicester specializing in the cross-sections between gender, crime and justice. She has researched areas relating to the sex industry for 15 years producing eight books and many articles. Her current projects look at digital technologies and the sex industry ( with a strong impact agenda around netreach and safety guidance for sex workers. She is a strong supporter of Participatory Action Research methods which underpin her research endeavours, working alongside the sex work community to ensure evidence-based policy speaks to the rights agenda. Other... More About Author

Maggie O'Neill

Maggie O’Neill is Chair in Sociology/Criminology in the Department of Sociology, University of York and has conducted participatory and feminist work on sex work with sex workers, practitioners, communities, artists and other researchers since 1989. Her inter-disciplinary research career has developed along a threefold path: the development of cultural, criminological and feminist theory; the development of innovative methodologies for doing social research – including visual, biographical and performative (walking) methodologies (ethno-mimesis); and the development of praxis (policy) interventions in practice and policy. She co-founded... More About Author

Jane Pitcher

Jane Pitcher completed an ESRC-funded PhD in Social Sciences at Loughborough University which explored the working experiences of sex workers in different indoor settings in Great Britain, drawing on in-depth inter­views with adult female, male and transgender sex workers. She has more than 20 years’ research and evaluation expertise in voluntary, academic and public sector organizations, including recently working on a study of internet-based sex work, Beyond the Gaze, with co-researchers at the universities of Leicester and Strathclyde and is co-author of Internet Sex Work: Beyond the Gaze (Palgrave 2017). She has undertaken... More About Author

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