Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Does The Law Matter? A Comparative News Media Analysis Of Representations Of Sex Work Across Three Jurisdictions

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posted on 2024-02-27, 02:50 authored by Boyd, Justine

This thesis examines the role of the mainstream news media in representing sex work and sex workers in three legislative contexts. Sex workers have long been subject to stigma, which has serious implications, impacting their lives in myriad ways. The media is a dominant medium through which stigmatising discourses may be spread. Thus, examining media representations of sex workers is important to understand the media's role and how it interacts with other state apparatuses in producing stigma.

Using a sample of newspapers across two timeframes (2000 & 2018), this study indicates that when legislation shifts to decriminalise sex work, news media representation may shift to better accommodate the voices of sex workers and their advocates. These shifts operate to disseminate alternative representations for sex workers, allowing them to inhabit a wider range of subjectivities.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Arts

ANZSRC Socio-Economic Outcome code

130199 Arts not elsewhere classified

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

1 Pure basic research

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Social and Cultural Studies


Armstrong, Lynzi