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Living with the Other: Street sex work, contingent communities and degrees of tolerance

O'Neill, Maggie and Campbell, Rosie and Hubbard, Phil and Pitcher, Jane and Scoular, J. (2008) Living with the Other: Street sex work, contingent communities and degrees of tolerance. Crime, Media, Culture, 4 (1). pp. 73-93. ISSN 1741-6590

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Abstract

There is substantial literature on how fears of Other populations are prompting the increased surveillance and regulation of public spaces at the heart of Western cities. Yet, in contrast to the consumer-oriented spaces of the city centre, there has been relatively little attention devoted to the quality of the street spaces in residential neighbourhoods beyond the central city. In this article, we explore how media representations of sex workers as an abject and criminalized Other inform the reactions of residents to street sex work in such communities. Drawing on our work in a number of British cities we highlight the different degrees of tolerance which residents express towards street sex work. In light of the Home Office strategy document, A Coordinated Prostitution Strategy, this article concludes by advocating participatory action research and community conferencing as a means of resolving conflicts and assuaging fears of difference.