By Raven Bowen

The Sex, Work, Law and Society Collaborative Research Network (CRN #6) held its inaugural sessions at the annual Law and Society Conference in Mexico City June 20-23rd 2017. CRN #6 was the brainchild of Menaka Raguparan, a PhD Candidate at Carlton University in Ottawa. Coordinators include: Prof. Chris Bruckert University of Ottawa; Raven Bowen PhD Candidate, University of York (UK); Dr. Tuulia Law Sessional Assistant Professor, York University, Toronto; and joining us this year, Dr. Tamara O’Doherty  Lecturer, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver. We would like to thank our respective Departments for supporting our attendance and coordination.

The June conference comprised seven sessions, with sex work researchers from around the world presenting on migration, trafficking, regulation, the experiences of third parties, tropes, and the political economy. In additional to the enlightening presentations, we hosted a dinner with special guests representing Casa Xochiquetzal, a home for active and former elderly sex workers. With the generous donations from CRN attendees, we contributed 14,516.91 pesos to support the work of this tenacious sex worker organization. Please view the event Storify for pictures and conference tweets.



LSA Annual Conference will be held in Toronto, Canada, June 7-10 2018

The theme of the 2018 meeting is Law at the Crossroads/ Le droit à la croisée des chemins. As such, we interpret the meeting theme as an opportunity to explore issues such as: law as both a tool of oppression and as a tool to challenge oppression and how sex workers and allies navigate this field; the growth of critical legal studies and the resulting recognition of law as inherently political rather than a neutral abstract notion of justice; the rise of nationalist and populist powers and their effects on marginalized groups, including but not limited to sex workers, who have seen their human rights gains rolled back or threatened; the limitations of law where public opinion or political will is resistant to reform or supportive of harmful laws; the use of evidence in law and the challenges that arise with increased use of social science evidence and experts in courts; the politicized, rather than empirical, basis for law and the resulting quandary for the sex workers’ rights movement in seeking labour and human rights through legal mechanisms; the ethics of engagement with law, a primary tool and feature of colonization, where decolonization and Indigenization are goals; the recognition of the violence of law, or the limitations/failures of legal institutions and the need for fundamental institutional change; new directions for sex workers, allies and the movement, given the current legal and political landscape.

We invite scholarly presentations relating to the overall conference theme, our CRN’s aims and scope, or the following keywords (primary key word should be Sex, Work, Law and Society, secondary key words should come from the following list): 

Access to Justice
Citizenship, Migration, and Refugee Studies
Class and Inequality
Economic and Social Rights
Economy, Business and Society
Gender and Sexuality
Labor and Employment
Policing, Law Enforcement
Race and Ethnicity
Race, Critical Race Research
Regulation, Reform, and Governance
Rights and Identities
Social Movements, Social Issues, and Legal Mobilization
Social Networks, Personal Relationships

Law and Society requires a 200-250-word abstract to be submitted for conference presentation vetting. The deadline for submission is THURSDAY OCTOBER 12TH 2017 5PM EST OR 10PM BST.

All proposals for paper presentations, panel (salon) sessions, roundtable discussions and Author meets Reader sessions will be accepted through LSA’s automated submission system. You can find more details about the automated submission system here

If you are already planning a LSA session with at least four panellists (and papers) that you would like to see included in the Sex, Work, Law and Society CRN 6, please contact Menaka at Tweet using #LS2018_sexwork

Please note that everyone attending the meeting is expected to register. Only those who register will be included on the official LSA-RCSL Joint Meeting Program (online and printed), or be allowed to present papers, or attend presentations and other functions. You do not have to be a member of LSA or any of the co-sponsoring organizations to participate in the meeting generally.

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