Criminalising the Client

clientCriminalising the Client by Josefina Erikson. Published by Rowman & Littlefield International, 2017. Review by Rachel Maden

This book, which explores the Swedish example of prostitution law, is part of Rowman & Littlefield International’s Feminist Institutionalist Perspectives series.

The first section of the book provides a comprehensive and rigorously researched account of how the political system and climate in Sweden led to the criminalising of clients. The second part introduces the notion of dynamic frame analysis, the approach used by Erikson to examine institutional change, while the third part applies that approach to Swedish prostitution policy in detail. The resulting theoretical and practical implications are wide-ranging and is a valuable attempt at providing insight into how we might best bring about gendered institutional change in other contexts.

Criminalising the Clientis not an attempt to resolve the problem of prostitution, or to take a side in the abolitionist/normalisation debate. Rather, it tackles issues of how prostitution came to be viewed in these ways in the first place, and demonstrates the importance of taking a fundamentally empirical approach to future analysis. Those interested in the nuances of the Swedish model, and how it can be used to inform strategic feminist action, are encouraged to pick up a copy.

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