The 2011 Stirling Lecture, entitled 'Problems with borders: changing idioms of freedom and bondage in UK sex work', was presented by Professor Sophie Day
from Goldsmiths, University of London.
The deregulation of labour has led to changes in the control of borders and bodies. Debates about trafficking since the 1990s illuminate how movement is gendered in ways that evoke earlier panics about white slavery. Activists find that sex work is considered a less legitimate occupation today than it was in the 1980s and early 1990s and they confront representations of sex workers as victims, sold and bought across national borders and reduced to the status of things. I trace recent shifts in the language of consent and compulsion alongside historical parallels in order to demonstrate how gendered idioms express a general ambivalence about labour.
The Stirling Lecture is held annually in honour of Professor Paul Stirling, founding Professor of the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology at the University of Kent. He is best known as the author of the classic ethnography, 'Turkish Village'.
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