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Designing Prostitution PolicyIntention and Reality in Regulating the Sex Trade$
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Hendrik Wagenaar, Helga Amesberger, and Sietske Altink

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781447324249

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447324249.001.0001

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The national governance of prostitution: political rationality and the politics of discourse

The national governance of prostitution: political rationality and the politics of discourse

Chapter:
(p.145) Four The national governance of prostitution: political rationality and the politics of discourse
Source:
Designing Prostitution Policy
Author(s):

Hendrik Wagenaar

Helga Amesberger

Sietske Altink

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781447324249.003.0004

This chapter depicts policy formulation as an ‘organised anarchy’ of agenda setting and political decision-making that expresses itself in an ongoing tension between institutionalised political rationality and public discourse. The emergence of policy agendas and the introduction of legislation are associated less with a particular identifiable phase of the policy process than with the contingent interactions of policy networks and institutions. This unruly process is strongly influenced by discourse, in both countries the worldwide neo-abolitionist discourse. In the Netherlands national policy swung from the halting legislative decision to decriminalize brothels, back to a national policy of control and containment. Austria’s policy was traditionally aimed at the control of a stigmatised activity, through measures such as compulsory STD checks, unfavorable fiscal measures, and immigration laws that prevent sex workers to have full access to the labour market. In both countries we observed that at the national level the sex trade is shaped as much, or perhaps even more, by laws that are tangential to prostitution (immigration, tax, social security and labour law) as by laws that are specifically directed at it.

Keywords:   national governance, prostitution, policy formulation, agenda setting, policy institutions, policy networks, public discourse, immigration law

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