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27-31 August 2019
Poznań, Poland
Europe/Warsaw timezone
programme last update: 23 August 2019
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Contribution Paper

Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 2.100

Can sex work research be a practice of solidarity?


  • Ursula PROBST

Primary authors


Considering the often scandalizing and one-sided representation of sex work(ers) in public discourses as well as the marginalization of sex workers, this field of research almost seems to call for engaged or activist research interventions. However, sex workers and non-academic sex work activists have often been very critical of the role of research(ers) in sex work activism as they call into question research practices and the supposed impact of academic discussions of sex work. By engaging with these critiques I want to critically examine various understandings, practices and limits of engaged, participatory and/or activist research in the context of sex work and their (lack of) potential for challenging hegemonic discourses and empowering sex worker communities. Based on encounters and conversations with research participants and sex work activists I will highlight different dimensions of this issue, as it not only relates to interactions and dynamics in the field, but also to broader questions of knowledge production, power relations and positionalities in- and outside of academic contexts. Following these thoughts I aim to instigate a discussion on different problems and possibilities of conducting sex work research as a practice of solidarity.