Ian Cook (Northumbria University) has been involved in two research projects that explore the regulation of sex work and the associated movement of ideas about how sex work should be regulated. See below for more details on these projects.


Project One: John Schools and Kerb Crawling

The project focuses on the transnational growth of John Schools. Since emerging in North America in the 1980s, they have subsequently opened in South Korea and the United Kingdom. As this BBC clip of the John School in Brooklyn, New York City shows, these programmes are unique in that they teach clients the negative consequences of buying sex. The clip also reflects the wider transnational interest in John Schools, something that forms a central plank of this research. 

This research project concentrates on the relatively recent emergence of John Schools in the UK. In doing so, it focuses on:

  • the pedagogical strategies of John Schools;
  • the wider political contexts in which John Schools have emerged;
  • the ways in which the ideas around the programmes have moved between places and the mutations involved in the movement.
Project outputs:

Cook, I. R. (2015) Making links between sex work, gender and victimisation: The politics and pedagogies of John Schools. Gender, Place and Culture 22 (6): 817-832. [free version here, official version here]

Cook, I. R. (2015) A vengeful education? Urban revanchism, sex work and the penal politics of John Schools. Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography 97 (1): 17-30. [free version here, official version here]

Laing, M. and Cook, I. R. (2014) Governing sex work in the city. Geography Compass 8 (8): 505-515. [free version here, official version here]

Project Two: The Movement of the Swedish Model to Northern Ireland

The focus here is on the ways in which policies, ideas and models associated with sex work circulate internationally, using the example of the adoption and adaptation of what has become known as the ‘Swedish model’ in Northern Ireland. This is a collaboration between Laura McMenzie, Mary Laing and Ian Cook (all at Northumbria University). 

Project output:

McMenzie, L., Cook, I. R. and Laing, M. (2019) Criminological policy mobilities and sex work: Understanding the movement of the ‘Swedish model’ to Northern Ireland. The British Journal of Criminology, early online [free version here, official version here]

Contact Ian Cook (ian.cook [at] northumbria.ac.uk) for more details on the project.