Mary Laing's research while affiliated with Northumbria University and other places

Publications (16)

Article
Full-text available
With the intensification of calls for social 'impact' from research, there is renewed emphasis on academic-activism as a means to realize social change. But what 'counts' as activism in these visions of academic-activist impact? Drawing on interviews with sex work scholars in the United Kingdom and Aotearoa New Zealand, we examine the borders-and t...
Article
Full-text available
This paper examines the interconnectedness of sex work with the platform economy. It does this by mobilising two concepts from the platform economy literature: the platform stack (which captures the structure of platforms) and interpenetration (which describes the processes through which platforms intersect). Exploring the platforms stacks and inte...
Preprint
Full-text available
This paper provides analysis and insight from a collaborative process with a Canadian sex worker rights organization called Stella, l'amie de Maimie, where we reflect on the use of and potential for digital technologies in service delivery. We analyze the Bad Client and Aggressor List-a reporting tool co-produced by sex workers in the community and...
Article
Full-text available
Ideas, policies and models related to criminal justice often travel between places. How, then, should we make sense of this movement? We make the case for drawing on the policy mobilities literature, which originates in human geography. It is only recently that criminological studies have drawn on small parts of this literature. This article argues...
Chapter
Although policy, debate and academic discourse around sex work has become increasingly gender nuanced, with calls to ‘queer’ sex work over past 10 years or so, UK based trans sex workers remain largely invisible in this body of work. This chapter seeks to outline the extant knowledge on trans sex workers and sex work in the UK with a focus on secur...
Chapter
Although policy, debate and academic discourse around sex work has become increasingly gender nuanced, with calls to ‘queer’ sex work over past 10 years or so, UK based trans sex workers remain largely invisible in this body of work. This chapter seeks to outline the extant knowledge on trans sex workers and sex work in the UK with a focus on secur...
Preprint
Full-text available
Sex workers' rights are human rights, and as such are an issue inherently based in social, criminal, and political justice debates. As HCI continues to move towards feminist and social justice oriented research and design approaches, we argue that we need to take into consideration the difficulties faced by sex workers; and explore how technology c...
Book
Sex work is a subject of significant contestation across academic disciplines, as well as within legal, medical, moral, feminist, political and socio-cultural discourses. A large body of research exists, but much of this focuses on the sale of sex by women to men and ignores other performances, practices, meanings and embodiments in the contemporar...
Article
Full-text available
Sex work is often constructed as an urban ‘problem’. As a result, sex workers, clients and the spaces in which people buy or sell sex are frequently the subject of intervention from those governing cities. This paper considers the ways in which problems and solutions are framed in the wider governance of sex work in cities in the global north. It d...
Chapter
Sex work is conceptualised in a multiplicity of nuanced ways in the academic literature, including (among others) as a bounded, yet ‘authentic’ intimate practice, as labour, as an economic survival strategy and as a type of therapy (see inter alia Bernstein 2007; Sanders 2005; Ditmore et al. 2010; Smith 2013). In addition, victimisation, criminali-...
Article
This article draws on two research projects to explore how spaces of public male sex work come into being through commercial and public sexual practices. Utilizing a blended methodology of ethnography, participant observation, interview materials, map making and photography, the article explores an area known for commercial and non-commercial sexua...

Citations

... Apart from discussing how they produce and promote their work, as well as how copyright and rights and economic policy issues emerge in this process, our participants discussed the issue of sex being increasingly deplatformed from popular, mainstream platforms like Instagram, Facebook or even PayPal, both as a result of the enforcement of stricter policies (e.g. Blunt & Wolf, 2020;Blunt et al., 2021) but also as a result of popular platforms aiming for more 'appropriate' -thus more censored -forms of content (Swords et al., 2021). ...
... Such an inclusive approach has the potential to lead to a wider appreciation of how different communities can be made vulnerable through technology practices and design. For example, HCI scholar Strohmeyer undertook studies with sex workers to better understand the information sharing and protection practices that this community undertakes to protect themselves in their work life [97]. In another example, use of augmentative alternative communication (AAC) technologies [10] has been further explored to better understand security and privacy issues and responses by AAC users and their support network [71]. ...
... 21 Little research has explored health access for TGISWs who use digital technology rather than street-based methods for procurement. 10,11 What the study adds ...
... The Swedish Model criminalizes purchasing sex but refrains from taking punitive measures against the sellers. This model has recently gained traction and has now been adopted by, for example, Ireland (McGarry & FitzGerald, 2019), Northern Ireland (McMenzie et al., 2019), Canada (Krüsi et al., 2014), Israel (Levy-Aronovic et al., 2020) and France (St. Denny, 2017). ...
... [39]). Academic researchers have also explored stigma as experienced by street-based sex workers [38], student populations [51], or sex workers with other various intersecting identities [37,74]. More recently, a long-term project has explored experiences of sex workers that work primarily online finding that they also experience detrimental impacts in their lives due to stigma [55]. ...
... Prior studies of technology use in the sex industry explored sex workers' use of digital platforms [41,72] and payment mechanisms [71], security considerations that sex workers take into account to do their jobs [54], and the digital discrimination they face [10,14]. Additional prior work has explored the harms of technology-related anti-trafficking legislation such as FOSTA/SESTA [14,50,58], the stigma of sex work online 10 [29], and the technology used by sex workers' rights organizations for social justice-related services [76]. These studies and news articles explain how criminalization and stigma put sex industry workers in precarious and often vulnerable positions, and made suggestions on ways to design technology to mitigate the harms unique to the sex industry; the general consensus was that including sex industry worker input in the design process of technological tools would help accommodate diversity, privacy, safety, and ease of use [16,48,62,67,78]. ...
... However, this affect culture has been unsettled since the 1990s, when sex-workers' movements tried to change the affects attached to sex-work and aimed at constructing a new identity, i.e. transforming shame into sex-workers' pride (e.g. Laing et al. 2015). The movement claimed rights for sex-workers and shifted the interpretation of prostitution in a different direction than the double standard of patriarchal bourgeois interpretation. ...
... To think on these implications queerly, or an otherways, is there a potential obscuring or erasure of queer and trans people in relation to the erotic through these articulations? I argue these framings seem to harken to white cisheternormative schemas whereby women are always sexual objects and men, sexual subjects (Smith, 2015); and if true, how might this reinforce gender binaries, disappear non-men, non-women, non-cisthetero onto-epistemologies; be bioessentialist, and limit erotic agency and expression? To be clear, Bell and Sinclair (2014) offered considerations about the refusal of the mind/body split in higher education which is worthy of examination, but I view their urging of a re-invitation of the erotic and the body as welcomed as long as the body comes de-sexual. ...
... The focus of much law, policy and practice remains focused on women selling sex in heterosexual exchanges (Smith and Laing 2012). The selling of sex by women has historically been perceived as contravening the norms of acceptable femininity (O'Neill 2001). ...
... In particular, the comparative analysis allowed for the identification of two factors that have played a role in shaping local prostitution policies and practices, which have also been highlighted in previous literature (for a review, see, for example, Laing and Cook, 2014). These factors are: urban regeneration and police controls carried out on three legal grounds: public order, immigration laws, and suspicion of sex trafficking/ exploitation. ...