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The Subject of Prostitution : Sex Work, Law and Social Theory

Scoular, Jane (2015) The Subject of Prostitution : Sex Work, Law and Social Theory. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, London. ISBN 9781904385516

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Abstract

The Subject of Prostitution offers a distinctive analysis of the links between prostitution and social theory in order to advance a critical analysis of the relationship of law to sex work. Using the lens of social theory to disrupt fixed meanings the book provides an advanced analytical framework through which to understand the complexity and contingencies of sex work in late modernity. The book analyses contemporary citizenship discourse and the law's ability to meet the competing demands of empowerment by sex workers and protection by radical feminists who view prostitution as the epitome of patriarchal sexual and economic relations. Its central focus is the role of law in both structuring and responding to the 'problem of prostitution'. By developing a distinctive constitutive approach to law, the author offers a more advanced analytical framework from which to understand how law matters in contemporary debates and also suggests how law could matter in more imaginative justice reforms. This is particularly pertinent in a period of unprecedented legal reform, both internationally and nationally, as legal norms simultaneously attempt to protect, empower and criminalise parties involved in the purchase of sexual services. The Subject of Prostitution aims to overcome the current aporia in these debates and suggest new ways to engage with the subject and law. As such, The Subject of Prostitution provides an advanced theoretical resource for policymakers, researchers and activists involved in contemporary struggles over the meanings and place of sex work in late modernity.