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Claire Weinhold imageBA(Hons), MSc, MBHL


PhD topic

Title: Decriminalisation and the management of brothels in Aotearoa/New Zealand

Supervisors: Professor Gillian Abel and Associate Professor Lee Thompson


Claire is a research and organisational development professional with expertise in non-standard, post-conflict and precarious contexts. She has worked on several democracy and governance projects internationally, including in the Middle East, East Africa, Central and South East Asia. She has conducted research across sectors, including crime and justice, health, social welfare, economic development, gender, disability and extremism. She is currently working on a performance audit of initiatives to address sexual assault, discrimination, harassment and bullying in the New Zealand Defence Force.

Her PhD research develops her expertise in labour conditions, particularly for marginalised and precarious workers. For the PhD, she is looking at how the decriminalisation of sex work in New Zealand interfaces with the management of brothels and sex workers’ experiences of management. She adopts a decolonial methodology to examine how neoliberal ideologies and practices inform management practices and influence outcomes for brothel-based sex workers, arguing that decriminalisation is an essential framework for understanding sex work as work and the opportunities that might offer sex workers and others reconsidering how work does and can work. Her research here informs a forthcoming book to be published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2022/23.

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Weinhold, C., Abel, G., & Thompson, L. (2022). “They wouldn't get away with it at McDonalds”: Decriminalization, work, and disciplinary power in New Zealand brothels. Gender, Work & Organization. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/gwao.12893