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Consuming Sex: Socio-legal Shifts in the Space and Place of Sex Shops

NCJ Number
Journal of Law and Society Volume: 37 Issue: 1 Dated: March 2010 Pages: 189-209
Baptiste Coulmont; Phil Hubbard
Date Published
March 2010
21 pages
This article details how the state and law have attempted to clarify what constitutes a sex shop and impose particular conditions on its existence in Britain and France.
Materials defines as pornographic have always been subject to regulation because of the potential of such items to 'corrupt and deprave'. Yet, the state and law have rarely sought to ban such materials, attempting instead to restrict their accessibility. The outcomes of such interventions have, however, rarely been predictable, an issue explored with reference to the changing regulation of sex shops in Britain and France since the 1970s. Noting ambiguities in the legal definitions of spaces of sex retailing, this article traces how diverse forms of control have combined to restrict the location of sex shops, simultaneously shaping their design, management, and marketing. Describing the emergence of gentrified and 'designer' stores, this article demonstrates that regulation has been complicit in a process of neo-liberalization that has favored more corporate sex shops - without this having ever been an explicit aim of those who have argued for the regulation of sex retailing. (Published Abstract)


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