Abusing Vulnerability? Contemporary Law and Policy Responses to Sex Work in the UK
Purchase on Springer.com
$39.95 / €34.95 / £29.95*
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.
There has been an exponential rise in use of the term vulnerability across a number of political and policy arenas, including child protection, sexual offences, poverty, development, care for the elderly, patient autonomy, globalisation, war, public health and ecology. Yet despite its increasing deployment, the exact meaning and parameters of this concept remain somewhat elusive. In this article, we explore the interaction of two very different strategies—one in which vulnerability is relied upon by those seeking improved social justice as a mechanism by which to identify, problematise and compel state responses to a universal condition of precarious dependency, and the other in which it is used as a category of neo-liberal governance which legitimates state encroachment whilst constructing ‘vulnerable’ individuals as ‘risk-managers’ who must behave ‘responsibly’ in the face of disadvantage. We suggest that the co-existence of these divergent approaches highlights the fluidity and malleability of the concept of vulnerability. Using sex work as a specific case study, we explore the ways in which vulnerability bears multiple meanings, and has been used in recent times in the furtherance of moralistic and regressive agendas, which collude with, rather than challenge, state power. Without seeking to reject the label or normative import of vulnerability, we call, therefore, for a more circumspect approach to its usage, and a more critical evaluation of recent claims which hail it as a mechanism, preferable to the conventional use of equality paradigms, by which to secure progressive feminist outcomes.
- Ahoronson, Ely, and Peter Ramsay. 2010. Citizenship and criminalization in contemporary perspective. New Criminal Law Review 13(2): 181–189.
- Anderson, Pamela. 2003. Autonomy, vulnerability and gender. Feminist Theory 4(2): 149–164. CrossRef
- Ashworth, Andrew, and Lucia Zedner. 2008. Defending the criminal law. Criminal Law and Philosophy 2: 21–51. CrossRef
- Association of Chief Police Officers. 2010. Project acumen: ACPO migration and other matters: Setting the record: The trafficking of migrant women in England and Wales off-street prostitution sector.
- Beasley, Chris, and Carol Bacchi. 2007. Envisaging a new politics for an ethical future. Feminist Theory 8: 279–298. CrossRef
- Butler, Judith. 2004. Precarious life: The powers of mourning and violence. London: Verso.
- Carline, Anna. 2011. Perspectives on trafficking and the policing and crime act 2009: Challenging notions of vulnerability through a Butlerian lens. In Regulating the international movement of women: From protection to control, ed. Sharron FitzGerald, 135–153. London: Routledge.
- Chambers, Robert. 1989. Vulnerability, coping and policy. IDS Bulletin 20: 1–7. CrossRef
- Cruikshank, Barbara. 1999. The will to empower: Democratic citizens and other subjects. New York: Cornell University Press.
- Dean, Mitchell. 1999. Governmentality: Power and rule in modern society. London: SAGE.
- Dunn, Michael, Isabel Clare, and Anthony Holland. 2008. To empower or to protect? Constructing the ‘vulnerable adult’ in English law and policy. Legal Studies 28(2): 234–253. CrossRef
- Edstrom, Jerker. 2010. Time to call the bluff: (De)-constructing ‘women’s vulnerability’, HIV and sexual health. Development 53(2): 215–221. CrossRef
- Fineman, Martha. 2008. The vulnerable subject: Anchoring equality in the human condition. Yale Journal of Law and Feminism 20: 1–23.
- Fineman, Martha. 2010. The vulnerable subject and responsive state. Emory Law Journal 60: 251–275.
- Fineman, Martha. 2011. Vulnerability, equality and the human condition. In Gender, sexualities and law, ed. Jackie Jones, Anna Grear, Rachel Fenton, and Kim Stevenson, 53–62. London: Routledge.
- FitzGerald, Sharron. 2011. Vulnerability and sex trafficking in the United Kingdom. In Regulating the international movement of women: From protection to control, ed. Sharron FitzGerald, 154–174. London: Routledge.
- Garland, David. 1997. Governmentality and the problem of crime: Foucault, criminology, sociology. Theoretical Criminology 1(2): 173–214. CrossRef
- Home Office. 2004. Paying the price: A consultation paper on prostitution. London: HMSO.
- Home Office. 2006. A coordinated prostitution strategy. London: HMSO.
- Home Office. 2008. Tackling the demand for prostitution: A review. HMSO.
- Hunter, Rosemary. 2011. Constructing vulnerabilities and managing risk: State responses to forced marriage. In Regulating the international movement of women: From protection to control, ed. Sharron FitzGerald, 11–28. London: Routledge.
- Husak, Douglas. 2008. Overcriminalization: The limits of the criminal law. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Hyndman, Jennifer. 2004. Mind the gap: Bridging feminist and political geography through geopolitics. Political Geography 23: 307–322. CrossRef
- Jane Scoular, Jane Pitcher, Rosie Campbell, Phil Hubbard & Maggie O’Neill. 2009. ‘What’s Anti-Social about Sex Work? Governance through the Changing Representation of Prostitution’s Incivility’ in Jo Phoenix (ed.) Regulating Sex for Sale: Prostitution Policy Reform in the UK, 29–46. Bristol: Policy Press.
- Kadish, Sanford. 1987. The crisis of overcriminalization: More on overcriminalization and the use of criminal sanctions in enforcing economic regulations. In Blame and criminal punishment: Essays in the criminal law, ed. Sanford Kadish, 21–61. London: MacMillan Press.
- Keenan, Sarah. 2011. Safe spaces for dykes in danger? Refugee law’s production of vulnerable lesbians. In Regulating the international movement of women: From protection to control, ed. Sharron FitzGerald, 29–47. London: Routledge.
- Killias, Martin, and Christian Clerici. 2000. Different measures of vulnerability in their relation to different dimensions of the fear of crime. British Journal of Criminology 40: 437–450. CrossRef
- Kirby, Peader. 2006. Vulnerability and violence: The impact of globalization. London: Pluto Press.
- Lloyd, Moya. 2008. ‘Towards a cultural politics of vulnerability. In Judith Butler’s precarious politics: Critical encounters, ed. Terrell Carver and Samuel A. Chambers, 92–105. London: Routledge.
- McRobbie, Angela. 2006. Vulnerability, violence and (Cosmopolitan) ethics: Butler’s precarious life. British Journal of Sociology 57(1): 69–86. CrossRef
- Melrose, Margaret. 2006. Trying to make a silk purse from a sow’s ear? A comment on the government’s prostitution strategy. Community Safety Journal 5(2): 4–13. CrossRef
- Munro, Vanessa. 2001. Legal feminism and foucault: A critique of the expulsion of law. Journal of Law and Society 28(4): 546–567. CrossRef
- Munro, Vanessa. 2006. Stopping traffic? A comparative study of responses to the trafficking in women for prostitution. British Journal of Criminology 46(2): 318–333. CrossRef
- Munro, Vanessa. 2010. An unholy trinity? Non-consent, coercion and exploitation in contemporary legal responses to sexual violence in England and Wales. Current Legal Problems 63(1): 45–71. CrossRef
- Munro, Vanessa, and Jane Scoular. 2012. Harm, Vulnerability and citizenship: Constitutional concerns in the criminalisation of contemporary sex work. In The constitution of criminal law, ed. Anthony Duff, Lindsay Farmer, Victor Tadros and Sandra Marshall, forthcoming. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- O’Connell-Davidson, Julia. 2006. Will the real sex slave please stand up? Feminist Review 83(1): 4–22. CrossRef
- Pantazis, Christina. 2000. Fear of crime: Vulnerability and poverty. British Journal of Criminology 40: 414–436. CrossRef
- Philo, Chris. 2005. The geographies that wound. Population, Place and Space 11: 441–454. CrossRef
- Phoenix, Jo. 2002. Youth prostitution policy reform: New discourses, same old story. In Women and punishment: The struggle for justice, ed. Pat Carlen, 67–93. Cullompton: Willan.
- Phoenix, Jo. 2008. Be helped or else! Economic exploitation, male violence and prostitution policy in the UK. In Demanding sex: Critical reflections on the regulation of prostitution, ed. Vanessa Munro and Marina Della Giusta, 35–50. Aldershot: Ashgate.
- Phoenix, Jo (ed.). 2009. Regulating sex for sale: Prostituion, policy reform and the UK. Bristol: Policy Press.
- Pitcher, Jane, Rose Campbell, Phil Hubbard, Maggie O’Neill, and Jane Scoular. 2006. From conflict to coexistence: Living and working in areas of street sex work. Bristol: Policy Press.
- Ramsay, Peter. 2010. Overcriminalization as vulnerable citizenship. New Criminal Law Review 13(2): 262–285.
- Ramsay, Peter. 2008a. The theory of vulnerable autonomy and the legitimacy of the civil preventative order. LSE law, society & economy working paper series 1/2008, available at www.lse.ac.uk/collections/law/wps/wps.htm.
- Ramsay, Peter. 2008b. Vulnerability, sovereignty and police power in the ASBO. In Police in the liberal state, ed. Markus Dubber and Marianne Valverde, 157–177. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
- Rose, Nikolas. 1990. Governing the soul: The shaping of the private self. London: Routledge.
- Scoular, Jane, and Maggie O’Neill. 2007. Regulating prostitution: Social inclusion, responsibilisation and the politics of prostitution reform. British Journal of Criminology 47(5): 764–778. CrossRef
- Scoular, Jane, and Maggie O’Neill. 2008. ‘Legal incursions into supply/demand: Criminalisation and responsibilising the buyers and sellers of sex. In Demanding sex: Critical reflections on the regulation of prostitution, ed. Vanessa Munro, and Marina Della Giusta, 13–34. Aldershot: Ashgate.
- Scoular, Jane. 2010. What’s law got to do with it? How and why law matters in the regulation of sex work. Journal of Law and Society 37(1): 12–39. CrossRef
- Simon, Jonathan. 2007. Governing through crime: How the war on crime transformed American democracy and created a culture of fear. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Sturla J. Stålsett. 2006. ‘Ethical Dimensions of Vulnerability and Struggles for Social Inclusion in Latin America’ Urbe et lus Newsletter No. 23, p. 1–21. http://www.urbeetius.org/newsletters/23/news_23_stalsett.pdf.
- Turner, Brian. 2006. Vulnerability and human rights. Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press.
- United Nations. 2003. Report on the world social situation 2003: Social vulnerability: Sources and challenges. New York: UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Available at http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/rwss/docs/2003/fullreport.pdf.
- Watts, Michael, and Hans Bohle. 1993. The space of vulnerability: The causal structure of hunger and famine. Progress in Human Geography 17(1): 43–67. CrossRef
- Young, Iris. 2009. The gendered cycle of vulnerability in the less developed world. In Toward a humanist justice: The political philosophy of Susan Moller Okin, ed. Deborah Satz and Rob Reich, 223–237. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Zedner, Lucia. 2010. Security, the state and the citizen: The changing architecture of crime control. New Criminal Law Review 13(2): 379–403.
- Abusing Vulnerability? Contemporary Law and Policy Responses to Sex Work in the UK
Feminist Legal Studies
Volume 20, Issue 3 , pp 189-206
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer Netherlands
- Additional Links
- Sex work