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The Transformation of Sexual Commerce and Urban Space in San Francisco

The third in a series of articles highlighting the sociological context of ASA’s next Annual Meeting location . . . San Francisco, California

Despite the frequent equation of “prostitution” with “the oldest profession,” what many of us typically think of as prostitution has not existed for very long at all: large-scale, commercialized prostitution in the West is a recent phenomenon, emerging out of the dislocations of modern industrial capitalism in the mid 19th century.

For social scientists, legal scholars, and feminists (not to mention state actors) who have been attentive to the issue of prostitution, a key question has concerned what societies should do about it. Underlying this dilemma are a number of important ethical and political concerns: Is there anything inherently wrong with the exchange of sex for money? Should prostitution be considered a crime?

also in this issue
The Social Sciences in Britain

A valuable report on the status and potential of the social sciences in Britain, titled Great Expectations: The Social Sciences in Britain, has been issued by an independent 13-member commission composed of academics and users of social research.* The commission, funded by two government bodies and the Rowntree Foundation, was formed at the initiative of the Academy of Learned Societies for the Social Sciences, a bipartite organization of 43 societies and 359 elected individuals.

Sociologists Often Need Up-to-date Data on the Profession in a Hurry­ . . . So ASA’s Website Now Provides “Today’s Data, Yesterday

The ASA Research Program on the Profession and Discipline just completed an updating of comprehensive trend data on the sociological profession (available at www.asanet.org/research
). Our goal is for a wide array of members of the profession to benefit from the ready availability of these data on the state of sociology and to allow their use for research, policy, and planning purposes.

Copyright © 2004 by the American Sociological Association. All rights reserved.