Regulating prostitution: social inclusion, responsibilisation and the politics of prostitution reform

Jane Scoular, Maggie O'Neill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

138 Citations (Scopus)


Following Matthews' (2005) recent examination of prostitution's changing regulatory framework, we offer a critical account of the move from 'enforcement' (punishment) to 'multi-agency' (regulatory) responses as, in part, a consequence of new forms of governance. We focus on the increasing salience of exiting - a move favoured by Matthews as signalling a renewed welfare approach, but one which, when viewed in the wider context of 'progressive governance', offers insight into New Labour's attempt to increase social control under the rhetoric of inclusion, through techniques of risk and responsibilization. By exploring the moral and political components of these techniques, we demonstrate how they operate to privilege and exclude certain forms of citizenship, augmenting the on-going hegemonic moral and political regulation of sex workers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)764-778
Number of pages14
JournalBritish Journal of Criminology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2007


  • prostitution
  • social inclusion
  • politics
  • prostitution reform

Cite this