Event

Valuing Sexual Market Exchanges

The Centre for Work, Organisation and Society (CWOS) warmly invites guest speaker Dr Helen Rand from the Department of Sociology at the University of Essex to discuss her work on valuing sexual market exchanges.

  • Wed 10 Nov 21

    12:00 - 13:00

  • Online

    Join this seminar

  • Event speaker

    Dr Helen Rand, Department of Sociology, University of Essex

  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars
    Centre for Work, Organisation and Society (CWOS) research seminar series

  • Event organiser

    Essex Business School

  • Contact details

    Dr Sophie Hales

This seminar aims to explore how valuation and calculation of goods and services within digital sex markets are constructed and maintained through multiple market devices.

Seminar abstract

Since the development of web 2.0 and associated technologies, the sale of sexual services has increasingly taken place online.

Understanding how digital sex markets operate from both the perspective of customers and workers, within an ambiguous legal framework was central to capturing the changes the digital age had bought to commercial sex in the UK.

Based on a three-year multi-method doctoral study, this paper uses Michel Callon’s theories of valuation to analyse the value and pricing of digital sexual services. It is often stated in both sex work literature and digital labour literature that an increase in workers results in a “race to the bottom” with workers experiencing lower incomes and reduced labour standards.

Using Callon’s market analysis (2007; 2015), I challenge this classic economic argument and suggest the valuation and calculation of goods and services within digital sex markets are constructed and maintained through multiple market devices.

In the paper I focus on the technical architecture that promotes online browsing and free access to services, discourses of “non-work” by sex workers and hopeful innovation to overcome competition.

Using an economic sociology approach provides a more complex picture of valuation, which neither over emphasises the agency of sex workers in the valuation process, nor submits all power to classic economic tropes.

 

How to join this seminar

This seminar is free to attend with no need to book in advance.

Please join this seminar online on Wednesday 10 November 2021 at 12pm

We welcome you to join in with your friends, colleagues and classmates.

 

Speaker bio

Helen Rand completed her doctorate in April 2020, from the Sociology Department at The University of Essex and is currently working as a lecturer for the department.

Her PhD was titled ‘Digital Sex Markets: Entrepreneurship and consumption within an uncertain legal framework’.

Her research specialisms are at the intersections of genders, sexualities, and work with a particular interest in digital labour markets.

She has published in Feminist Review and Sexualities.

She tweets @HelenRand1.

Related events