Revisiting the red light district: still neglected, immoral and marginal?

Hubbard, Phil and Laing, Mary (2008) Revisiting the red light district: still neglected, immoral and marginal? Geoforum, 39 (5). pp. 1743-1755. ISSN 0016-7185

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2008.05.003

Abstract

Twenty years ago, Ashworth et al. (1988) offered a distinctive and innovative interpretation of a neglected aspect of the urban scene: the red light district. Focusing on the location of female prostitution in a series of Western European cities, their paper suggested that the geographies of sex work are revealing of some of the ‘less obvious’ social and political processes that shape urban space. Here, we revisit Ashworth et al’s paper in the light of subsequent developments in the organisation of commercial sex as well as the study of sexuality and space. Noting important continuities as well as major shifts in the location of sex work, with a significant shift to off-street forms of sex working having occurred, this paper argues that some of the ideas in Ashworth et al’s paper remain highly pertinent, but others appear in need of updating. In particular, we stress the importance of focusing on men as both clients and workers within the sex industry, and flag up a number of connections that might be made with the emerging literatures on the geographies of sex itself. We hence conclude by considering Ashworth et al’s paper as an important early intervention in debates surrounding the relations of sexuality and space, albeit one in which questions of gender, embodiment, and sexual desire remained largely unexplored.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This was published under Mary Laing's maiden name, correct citation Hubbard, Phil and Whowell, Mary (2008) Revisiting the red light district: still neglected, immoral and marginal? Geoforum, 39 (5). pp. 1743-1755. ISSN 0016-7185
Uncontrolled Keywords: urban geography, sexuality, regulation, gender, prostitution, EU
Subjects: L400 Social Policy
L900 Others in Social studies
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Social Sciences & Languages
Depositing User: Helen Pattison
Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2012 14:11
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2015 11:14
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/8133

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