Johns in the spotlight: Anti-prostitution efforts and the surveillance of clients
This essay examines surveillant practices that subject sex trade clients (clients) to socio-legal control. In particular, I employ the concepts of the gaze, voyeurism, and exhibitionism to unpack the surveillant dynamics, and consider how power and pleasure are harnessed, produced, and thwarted in the increasing scrutiny of the sex trade's demand side. I further examine my own research of the regulation of clients within this analytical framework. Following David Lyon's insights on the scopophilic dimensions of surveillance (2006), I argue that the instrumental goals of surveillance are interconnected with a voyeurism that gratifies the pleasures of looking at, categorizing, defining and making sense of, clients. Yet, bearing in mind the multi-directionality of the gaze, I also analyze the controlled exhibition of sex work signifiers, as information is not just gathered, but also displayed and performed.
|Keywords||clients or "johns," surveillance, criminal law and regulation, exhibitionism, media studies, panoptic, prostitution, sex work, social control, synoptic, the gaze, voyeurism|
|Journal||Canadian Journal of Law and Society|
Khan, U. (2015). Johns in the spotlight: Anti-prostitution efforts and the surveillance of clients. Canadian Journal of Law and Society (Vol. 30, pp. 9–29). doi:10.1017/cls.2014.27