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Governmentality in Amsterdam's Red Light District

Zuckerwise, GM; (2012) Governmentality in Amsterdam's Red Light District. City: analysis of urban trends, culture, theory, policy, action , 16 (1-2) pp. 146-157. 10.1080/13604813.2012.662365.

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Abstract

On 1 October 2000, the ban on brothels was lifted in the Netherlands, marking an intervention in the nature and structure of the country's prostitution industry by legalising sex work. Various perspectives contributed to the debates and deliberations that resulted in the Netherlands' prostitution policy, while dominant discourses accounted for the primacy of sex workers' rights and the security of the sex industry. Less than 10 years later, policymakers and municipal authorities in Amsterdam began casting doubts on the country's approaches towards prostitution, and discourses have shifted away from the situations of sex workers and the security of their industry. Prostitution has become increasingly considered in terms of its contextualisation in the city. The situation or subjectivities of the prostitutes is undermined by the socio-cultural significance and quality that is attributed to the spaces of sex work. This paper introduces Foucault's concept of governmentality along with scholarship that develops and critiques his ideas in relation to space and subjectivity. The current situation in Amsterdam's Red Light District illustrates how governmentality is productive for analysing contemporary cultural policies and industries that redefine the concept and significance of culture through its relationships to the social life and space of the city.

Type: Article
Title: Governmentality in Amsterdam's Red Light District
Location: UK
DOI: 10.1080/13604813.2012.662365
Publisher version: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/routledg/cci...
Keywords: Red Light District, prostitution, Dutch Studies, governmentality, Amsterdam, De Wallen
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > SELCS
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1388779
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