Call for Papers : Blurred Lines: The Contested Nature of Sex Work in a Changing Social Landscape

Submission deadline (extended): 30 June 2014

The last decade has witnessed an array of changes in the socio-political context in which the sex industry operates. The UK government revised a number of policies relating to both sex work and trafficking, which have in some instances led to a conflation of the two; the All Party Parliamentary Group for prostitution continues to review how sex work is dealt with in the legal sphere. The influence of radical feminism is evident both in much of this policy and in media portrayals of sex work, lending support to the ‘Swedish Model’ and leading to renewed calls from the academic community for a more nuanced debate. Continued ‘austerity measures’ brought about by the economic downturn have affected the financial and economic strategies both for sex workers and clients.

International borders have changed with new countries joining EU membership, and labour deficits in informal markets in the Global North attracting women’s migration from the Global South. Yet despite these (and other) changing conditions – which continue to operate in a state of flux – there remains very little research which contributes to how these changes have been experienced by those involved in the sex industry. In particular, we would like to explore the notion of ‘change or continuity’ in relation to the socio-political conditions which shape engagement in any element of the industry.

In terms of change, it would be useful to add to the literature surrounding the extent to which each market of the sex industry is different or distinct. In some rhetoric, the lifestyles and working conditions of those engaged in street markets are often polarised with those working in indoor and indirect markets, with a loss of textured and nuanced discourses. Similarly victims of trafficking are often juxtaposed with consensual migrant sex workers who have chosen to sell sex, and have a degree of control over their work and working conditions.

Further, some research has delved into the differences between sex work and other mainstream forms of labour. In some instances, however, this tendency towards dichotomisation may not reflect the blurred lines between the different sex markets, and between agency and constraint. It would be useful therefore to explore this notion of ‘difference and similarity’, especially in relation to the changing socio-political landscape, which has put strain on the working conditions and lifestyles of those working within different markets of the sex industry.

We envisage this edition taking a broad perspective on the themes of ‘change-continuity’ and/or ‘difference-similarity’, and we welcome papers which explore these issues within all sectors of the sex industry.

Please send all contributions and enquiries to Guest Editors: Laura Connelly (, Gemma Ahearne ( and Laura Jarvis-King (


Gemma Ahearne, Leeds Metropolitan University
Laura Connelly, University of Leeds
Laura Jarvis-King, University of Leeds

Submission Deadline (Extended)

Please note that the extended deadline is 30 June 2014. (The initial deadline for submissions was 30 May 2014).