Rights, Recognition and Resistance: analysing legal challenges, sex workers rights and citizenship

Margaret O'Neill, Mary Laing

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Placing the lived experiences of sex workers at the centre of this chapter, and utilising the approach of C. Wright Mills (1959: 8), we seek to connect the biographies and working realities of sex workers to their historical-legal-social criminalisation and stigmatisation. We will reflect on what Mills’ describes as the relationship between ‘personal troubles with public issues’; and will explore the possibilities for a radical democratic imaginary that moves beyond the current stasis and confines of the punitive criminal justice regulatory model which constructs sex workers as deeply stigmatised and deviant. Rather than mapping identity, discourse and meaning onto sex workers’ bodies, a radical democratic imaginary, as part of an agenda for change, which reflects the broader aims and scope of this collection, situates sex workers’ voices and biographies at the centre of knowledge production. It allows for a nuanced, experiential reading of the harmfulness of regulatory frameworks which criminalise sex workers and/or their clients, as well as offering potential pathways towards a more inclusionary and inclusive citizenship.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRealising Justice for Sex Workers: An Agenda for Change
EditorsSharron Fitzgerald , Kathryn McGarry
PublisherRowman & Littlefield
ISBN (Print)9781786603951
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2018

Publication series

NameGlobal Political Economies of Gender and Sexuality
PublisherRowman and Littlefield

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