Comparative Research in Prostitution Studies: Challenges and Opportunities

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 4:00 PM
Room: Booth 51
Oral Presentation
Isabel CROWHURST , Kingston University, Kingston Upon Thames, United Kingdom
This paper starts with a critical overview of comparative research in prostitution studies. More specifically, it outlines the scholarship that has looked at prostitution from a comparative perspective in social sciences, exploring methodological approaches used, scales of analysis adopted, and consideration (or lack of thereof) for the shifting meanings of concepts, prostitution-related practices and cultures across the units of analysis compared. The paper asks what lessons have been and can be learned from doing comparative analysis in this field, and whether more work needs to be done to refine this methodological approach in prostitution studies. The second part of the paper presents an on-going project  on “Comparing prostitution policies in Europe: Understanding Scales and Cultures of Governance” (2013-17 COST Action IS1209), discussing the rationale underpinning  it, as well as the challenges encountered and opportunities offered in conducting comparative, multi-disciplinary prostitution research in practice.