Graduate seminar: ‘The multiplicities of prostitution experience’, October 7

Our first graduate seminar of the year, now with TCRU:

CNR-TCRU Postgraduate Narrative Research Seminars, 2015-2016

Organised by the Centre for Narrative Research, University of East London

and the Thomas Coram Research Unit, UCL Institute of Education

Anna Hall, Department of Social Work, University of Gothenberg

The multiplicities of prostitution experience – narratives about power and resistance.

Tuesday October 6, 2015, 5-6.30pm

The Library, Thomas Coram Research Unit, 27-28 Woburn Square, London WC1H 0AA,

All welcome, particularly graduate students.

My research is situated within the field of feminist narrative studies and involves twenty women’s personal narratives about their prostitution experience. The structure/agency duality is central in prostitution research. Research is often criticized for either/or analyses, focusing either on the structural forces traversing the field or on the agency of individuals involved in prostitution. My PhD thesis aimed to produce an analysis sensitive to both the structural and the agentic aspects of prostitution experience and to shift the focus from what prostitution is (work or violence, empowerment or exploitation), the topic of most prostitution debate, to how prostitution operates. That is, how power relations, knowledges, discourses and practices interconnect in making particular forms of prostitution and particular ways of making sense of prostitution experience possible. With a genealogical approach to narrative analysis narratives are analyzed both as technologies of power and as technologies of the self. An understanding of narratives as both technologies of the self and technologies of power stipulates that although subjects live and construct stories about themselves, stories also live and construct subjects. The participants are both the object and the subject of discourse. In my presentation I will discuss how the research participants were produced as particular subjects of their experience, how they both drew on and positioned themselves against dominant narratives about prostitution, as well as the different tactics that they employed in order to negotiate, resist and destabilize power within the institution of prostitution.

Anna Hall is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Social work, University of Gothenburg. Before pursuing her PhD she worked as a counselor and outreach worker at an agency providing services for people working in the sex industry. Her research interests include gender, sexuality and critical social work, the politics of prostitution, Foucauldian analytics, the sociology of emotions and narratives of the self. She is currently on parental leave.

Hulusjö, A. 2013. The multiplicities of prostitution experience: narratives about power and resistance. Malmö University.

Dissertation available online here                                                                                                                                                       

Hulusjö, A. 2013. A critical perspective on difference: ‘the prostitute’ and women with prostitution experience. Nordic Social Work Research, 3(2), pp 176-184.

Power Point presentation of Anna’s talk is available here CNR-NOVELLA seminar

For further details contact Corinne Squire ( Details are also on the CNR website:


Published by corinnesquire

Corinne Squire is Professor of Social Sciences and Co-Director, Centre for Narrative Research, at University of East London

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