The social construction of prostitution in Californian 'John' Schools

Gurd, Amy & O'Brien, Erin (2012) The social construction of prostitution in Californian 'John' Schools. In TASA Conference Proceedings 2012, TASA, The University of Queensland, Brisbane.

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The existence of prostitution in society continues to be a highly contested issue in both political and social arenas. With traditional criminal justice methods to address prostitution focussing predominantly on sex workers, newly formed initiatives have been created to target the demand side of prostitution. ‘John Schools’ – diversionary programs for clients, or ‘johns’ who have been arrested for prostitution offences – aim to educate participants on the various harms and risks associated with such behaviour and claim to provide an innovative means to reduce prostitution by decreasing demand for sexual services. It is evident however, that these programs perpetuate traditional social constructions of prostitution, characterising the act, and the actors, as sexually deviant. This paper examines the curriculum of these programs in order to identify how prostitution is constructed, firstly through the depiction of the victims in the program, and secondly through the characterisation of prostitution offenders. This paper argues that such initiatives merely extend the charge of sexual deviance from the sellers of sex to the buyers, and fail to acknowledge autonomy and choice for sex workers and clients.

Impact and interest:

3 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 56981
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: prostitution, sex work, john school, sex industry
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > CRIMINOLOGY (160200)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Crime & Justice Research Centre
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Justice
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 TASA
Deposited On: 07 Feb 2013 06:13
Last Modified: 13 May 2013 21:59

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