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Dr Katie Cruz

Dr Katie Cruz

Dr Katie Cruz
PhD (Nottingham), MA (Nottingham), LLB (King's College London)

Senior Lecturer in Law

Area of research

Senior Lecturer in Law

Office 3.61 WMB
Wills Memorial Building,
Queens Road, Clifton BS8 1RJ
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 954 5684


Feminist and Marxist theory; regulation of sex work; trafficking for sexual exploitation; sex tourism; 'free'/unfree labour; basic income; labour law; public law; contract law


Katie Cruz joined the law school in August 2016, having previously lectured at Keele University and the University of Leeds. She is a socio-legal scholar with a commitment to feminist and Marxist approaches to the law. Katie currently teaches undergraduate modules in Law & State, Sex, Gender and Law, and Socio-Legal Studies, and postgraduate modules in Social & Legal Theory and Law, Gender and Sexuality. She has previously taught modules in Contract law, Labour law, and Migration and Work. Katie is a co-ordinating editor for the journal Feminist Legal Studies.

Katie's research combines empirical, doctrinal and theoretical critique of the demands for labour, migrant and civil rights being made by sex worker rights activists in the UK. She has developed an original critique of the commodification of sexual services based on the limits of labour law and the views of sex workers and activists, which has led her to explore broader social welfare protections, including a basic income. Katie has developed this research in a recent publication with Dr Kate Hardy and Professor Teela Sanders. In this article they address the problem of false self-employment in the lap dancing industry and the lack of an oppositional consciousness among dancers. Having theorised this empirical insight drawing from critiques of entrepreneurialism, both individual labour law claims and alternative strategies for improving working conditions are considered. 

Katie's most recent research begins from the observation that liberal sex work scholarship and activism tends to normalise as free, consensual, and non-exploited migrant sex work that falls short of the trafficking threshold. Departing from this framework, she uses a Marxist feminist metholdology to map the organisation of migrant sex workers' socially reproductive paid and unpaid labour in one city and country of arrivial, London, UK. She argues that unfree and 'free' (sexual) labour exists on a continuum of capitalist social relations, which are gendered, racialised, and legal. It is within these relations that various actors implement, and migrant sex workers contest, unfree labour practices not limited to the most extreme forms. Building on this research, Katie is co-authoring (with Dr Kate Hardy) an article that theorises exploitation in different international sexual labour markets through a Marxist feminist framework.

More broadly, Katie has an interest in current debates in feminist legal and political theory and is co-authoring, with Dr Yvette Russell (Bristol), an article that critiques the so-called critique of "governance feminism".

In 2017, Katie was awarded a British Academy funding under the Tackling Slavery, Human Trafficking and Child Labour in Modern Business programme (with Professor Julia O'Connell Davidson, Sociology, University of Bristol and Dr Jacqueline Sanchez Taylor, Sociology, University of Leicester) to revisit 1990s ESRC funded research in Jamaica (conducted by O'Connell Davidson and Sanchez Taylor). The BA project will address three questions: 1) have patterns of sex tourism and attitudes towards child sex tourism changed? 2) Do the legal and policy understandings of the boundaries of tourism, sex tourism, and child sex tourism, that currently inform initiatives to counter child sexual exploitation map onto the sociological realities of the informal tourism economy? If not, how can such initiatives be made more effective? 3) Campaigns against child sex tourism in Jamaica have in the past had unintended, negative consequences for adult sex workers, an already vulnerable and marginalized group. How can this be avoided and sex workers included as participants in the struggle to protect children’s rights? 



University of Bristol Law School

Staff role

Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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