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Prostitution Policy Models and Feminist Knowledge Politics in New Zealand and Sweden

This article analyses expert discourse on prostitution in New Zealand and Sweden using governmentality theory. The article shows that in both cases, experts adopted research methodologies based in criticism of past research as supporting heterosexual male hegemony. New Zealand experts emphasized giving voice to prostitutes as a marginalized, predominately female population and producing research that benefited them. Swedish experts argued that research should focus upon global sex markets and hegemonic masculinities, successfully advocating criminalizing

clients and pimps, but not prostitutes. The article argues that both policies exemplify contrasting advanced liberal governmental techniques. In New Zealand, the critical methodology of attention to prostitute voices informed techniques of agency which sought to empower sex workers to manage their own health and human rights problems.

In Sweden, the methodology of studying up informed advanced liberal authoritarian techniques which disciplined and punished sex

buyers in the interests of their own freedom and in conformity with Swedish constructions of freedom.

In each case, advanced liberal governmentality instrumentalized knowledge produced by critical feminist research methodologies to inform governmental techniques that produced localized
gendered norms of personhood.


Human Rights and Law