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Criminality at Work$
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Alan Bogg, Jennifer Collins, Mark Freedland, and Jonathan Herring

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198836995

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198836995.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 June 2021

The Work of Sex Work

The Work of Sex Work

Prostitution, Unfreedom, and Criminality at Work

(p.192) 10 The Work of Sex Work
Criminality at Work

Katie Cruz

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyses the legal treatment of sex work, and specifically prostitution, from the perspective of Marxist feminism. Here, the work of sex work must be understood in its wider structural context of gendered and racialized capitalism. The chapter argues that sex work should be understood as work. Furthermore, the features of ‘unfreedom’ associated with sex work do not vitiate its identity as a form of work, and therefore as an activity that warrants the application of protective norms of labour law. This marks an important distinction from the previous chapter’s taxonomy of commercial sex work. In fact, this chapter argues that all work under capitalism is structurally coupled with exploitation and alienation (unfreedom) that ebbs and flows according to the balance of class forces. Given this structural coupling, it is problematic to use the exploitation and alienation in sex work as a basis for excluding it from the domain of personal work relations and for barring sex workers from worker protective laws.

Keywords:   sex work, Marxist feminism, exploitation, unfreedom, commercial sex, capitalism, personal work relations

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