Move Over Sectarianism! Hello Sextarianism: Regulating Sex work in Northern Ireland”. A talk by Dr. Paul Maginn

The Geography department at Northumbria University is delighted to announce:

Move Over Sectarianism! Hello Sextarianism:

Regulating Sex work in Northern Ireland


A seminar presentation by

Dr. Paul J. Maginn

University of Western Australia

Date: Wednesday 2nd December 2015

Time: 12pm -1pm

Location: Room A111

(Ellison Building, Northumbria University, Ellison Place)

All welcome – and cake will be present!

epa00599967 Anti gay wedding protesters make their point outside Belfast City Hall, Northern Ireland, Monday, 19 December 2005. The first set of civil partnership ceremonies for gay couples in the United Kingdom, two women, Shannon Sickles and Grainne Close, exchanged vows at Belfast City Hall. Another lesbian couple and a gay couple also exchanged vows Monday. EPA/PAUL MCERLANE

Since the commencement of the ‘peace process’ in the mid-1990s ethno-religious sectarianism has become less pronounced in Northern Ireland. This has created space on the political agenda for some broader social issues to receive policy attention. In particular, issues around sexual citizenship (e.g. gay rights and reproductive choice) and sexual commerce (e.g. sex work/prostitution and other forms of adult entertainment) have become ‘new’ sites of struggle about identity politics in this ethno-religiously divided part of the UK. Interestingly, whereas Catholic/Nationalist and Protestant/Unionist politicians have long engaged in sectarian politics the issue of regulating commercial sex has resulted in an interesting alliance between both side of politics as well as elements of the feminist/women’s movement in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. This is illustrated through an examination of the Human Trafficking & Exploitation (Further Provisions and Support for Victims) Bill introduced by Lord Morrow from the Democratic Unionist Party. The passing of this Bill witnessed the introduction of the so-called Swedish model to regulate the ‘sex industry’. Put simply, the political debates and legislation around sex work and, more broadly, sexuality in Northern Ireland brings into focus, the question: Is Northern Ireland a sextarian society?

Follow Paul on Twitter: @planographer

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