Understanding sex work 1
This chapter considers what deviance is and how this is used to define human behaviour, ranging from the breaching of a social norm to the violation of a criminal code. Relevant sociological theories such as Howard Becker’s labelling theory (1963) are applied to the discussion in order to illustrate how some theorists and social commentators have labelled men’s procurement of sexual services as ‘peculiar’. Aspects of feminism are also considered in relation to the proposition that men’s involvement in the sex work industry in this way supports the ‘peculiar’ man typology. This chapter then concludes by considering the legislative frameworks that are applied to the sex work industry both within and outside of Australia, but with a particular focus on New South Wales, Australia – the geographical location in which the research for this book took place. The consideration of the law in this way highlights how men are criminalised in some parts of the world but not in others, for procuring sexual services, exemplifying how the typology of the ‘peculiar’ man is applied to men who engage in this act in a criminalising context.