Sex Work: Lived Experiences, Policies and Perspectives - SPY00052H

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  • Department: Social Policy and Social Work
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Kate Brown
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20

Module summary

Drawing on the large and growing body of research on sex work in the UK and internationally, this module aims to give students a good understanding of diverse sectors of the sex industry, theoretical frameworks for making sense of sex work and varying policy approaches to sex work in the UK and internationally. With lived experiences of sex workers at the heart of the material for the module, we will explore debates about law, policing and wider regulation of sex work, covering topics such as exploitation, sex worker safety, activism and rights. 

Professional requirements

N/A

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2019-20

Module aims

How the sex industry should be regulated remains a highly contested matter. Debates about sex work often foreground moral positions rather than research, as well as marginalising the voices and perspectives of sex workers. Drawing on the large and growing body of research on sex work in the UK and internationally, this module aims to give students a good understanding of diverse sectors of the sex industry, theoretical frameworks for making sense of sex work and varying policy approaches to sex work in the UK and internationally. With lived experiences of sex workers at the heart of the material for the module, we will explore debates about law, policing and wider regulation of sex work, covering topics such as exploitation, sex worker safety, activism and rights. 

 

 

The aims of the module 

  • To facilitate an understanding of sex workers’ lived experiences across the diversity of the sex industry in the UK and beyond
  • To introduce and apply theories which help make sense of sex work 
  • To explore the regulation of the sex industry in the UK and beyond 
  • To consider the role of activism, policy and practice in addressing the injustices and harms which many sex workers face 

Module learning outcomes

Learning outcomes 

By the end of the course, students who have attended the workshops and seminars and also undertaken complementary reading will be able to:

  • Recognise and discuss diverse lived experiences of sex work
  • Understand key theories that help make sense of sex work  
  • Contribute to debates about policy and practice developments in relation to the regulation of sex work 
  • Draw on theories and lived experiences of sex work to critically evaluate initiatives, campaigns or policies which claim to improve the safety and well-being of sex workers 

Module content

Indicative Content:

Wk

Lecture

Seminar

2

Introduction to the sex industry 

Student sex work  

3

Perspectives on sex work 

Sex work theories in policy/practice 

4

Policing and regulation 

Online, indoor and street sex work

 

5

Violence, hate crime and safety 

Changing trends in violence against sex workers

8

Migration and sex work

Exploitation and trafficking policy 

6

Health and harm reduction 

Models of support

7

Sex work activism and organising 

‘Rights not rescue’ 

9

Zoning and safer sex work 

Leeds and Zurich 

10

Evaluating safer sex work initiatives 

Assignment work 

 

Assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Essay 3000 words
N/A 75
Practical
Vlog/Video
N/A 25

Special assessment rules

None

Additional assessment information

Formative feedback will be provided during students' preparation for their Vlog assessment.

Reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Essay 3000 words
N/A 75
Practical
Vlog/Video
N/A 25

Module feedback

In addition to informal feedback during seminars, students will receive written feedback on their submitted work using the Department's standard marking matrix. Feedback will be received according to the 20 working day turnaround for return of student assessments.

Indicative reading

Campbell, R. (2019) forthcoming Whorephobia: sex work and hate crime, London: Palgrave Macmillan. 

Mac, J. and Smith, M. (2019) Revolting Prostitutes: The Fight for Sex Workers’ Rights. London: Verso. 

Mai, N (2018) Mobile Orientations: An Intimate Autoethnography of Migration, Sex Work and Humanitarian Borders, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

McGarry, K.  & FitzGerald, S.A. eds.  (2018) Realising social justice for sex workers: an agenda for change, Maryland: Rowan and Littlefield International. 

Sanders, T and Laing, M. (eds) (2018) Policing the Sex Industry: Protection, Paternalism and Politics, Abingdon: Routledge.

Sanders, T., O’Neill, M. and Pitcher, J (2018) Prostitution: sex work, policy and politics, 2nd Edition, London: Sage.

Sanders, T., Scoular, P., Campbell, R., Pitcher, J. and Cunningham, S (2017) Internet Sex Work, London: Palgrave Macmillan.



The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.