Last stop Zurich, 24 November: Taking the morality out of conversations about commercial sex

Something to celebrate: Leaving Morality Debates Behind and instead considering commercial sex as a field: to study, to be interested in, to struggle about – but not to address in terms of Is it bad or good that people sell sex? It’s five years since I published the article presenting this theoretical framework – already familiar to people who know that you cannot research something well if you come to it with Big Moral Issues.

Leaving Morality Debates Behind: The Cultural Study of Commercial Sex

Public Lecture by Laura Agustín- all welcome

24 November 2010 18:15-20:00

University of Zürich, Rämistrasse 71
Hörsaal KO2-F-153

With the academic, media and ‘helping’ gaze fixed on women who sell sex, the great majority of phenomena that make up the sex industry are ignored. People who sell sex tend to be examined in terms of ‘prostitution’, focussing on transactions between individuals and personal motivations. A cultural-studies approach looks at commercial sex in its widest sense, examining its intersections with art, migration, ethics, service work, consumption, family life, entertainment, sport, economics, urban space, sexuality, tourism, informal economies and criminality, not omitting issues of race, class, gender, identity and citizenship. The object is to study the everyday practices involved, to reveal how our societies distinguish between activities considered normatively ‘social’ and activities denounced as criminally and morally wrong and to look for ways out of a seemingly intransigent social conflict.

4 thoughts on “Last stop Zurich, 24 November: Taking the morality out of conversations about commercial sex

  1. Pingback: Twitter Trackbacks for Laura Agustín | Zurich | Lecture | 24 Nov 2010 | | Border Thinking on Migration, Trafficking and Commercial Sex [] on

  2. Laura Agustín

    academic institutions, where these lectures have been held, are not savvy about communicating to the world, so they don’t record. there was someone who recorded one talk though, which i think must be on a disc delivered to me the other day. what i would do to get it onto my website i don’t know.

    xt, i didn’t even know about this conference in frankfurt. and no one pays my registration fees or travel so i don’t ordinarily apply to any academic conferences.


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