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Sex work today: myths, morals and health

James M Heather10 December 2012

World AIDS Day fell on 1 December, providing a fitting backdrop for the latest Lunch Hour Lecture, on the sex industry. Or perhaps it’s not that fitting, as UCL sociologist Professor Graham Scambler set out to dispel some common misconceptions about sex workers.

Professor Scambler has spent a number of years studying the health issues, sociological factors and stigmas attached to the world’s oldest profession, and in this talk presented data gathered largely in, or relating to, London.

Society holds a great many conceptions about sex workers, a large number of which are both offensive and – more importantly – incorrect, and this lecture started by debunking some of the most pervasive.

Starting with sexually transmitted infections (STIs), he revealed that sex workers are not always at higher risk, as research undertaken in London in 1993 revealed.

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Beyond social exclusion: emerging logics of expulsion with Saskia Sassen

James M Heather23 June 2012

Professor Saskia Sassen

Professor Saskia Sassen

On 13 June, renowned sociologist Professor Saskia Sassen, who popularised the term ‘global city’, came to London’s Global University to give a talk on some of her current research.

Centring around the idea that in recent history changes to the socio-economic make-up of capitalist nations has brought about changes to the way society values and includes its members, the talk focused on how the dynamics and metrics of exclusion – and expulsion – have altered throughout much of our society, and largely for the worse.

We started by learning the definition of social expulsion, as opposed to exclusion. Imagine, if you will, those people that reside at the edge of a system (not necessarily a geographical edge). Exclusion would be the prevention of people outside of that system entering it. Expulsion, however, is the act of those already within the system being ejected from it, and finding themselves on the other side of the line.

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