This research is about documents carrying histories and power by shaping discourse. Through the example of the policy discourse around window prostitution in Amsterdam, this research shows that histories around and about prostitution can be used in powerful ways by parties to determine the form of discourse. These histories are ‘folded into’ the documents as truths, and go on to live on in other documents. By looking at different identities in connection to the moral values and characters represented, I will highlight an alternative narrative. Drawing on the notion of M’Charek’s (2014) folded objects and van Oorschot’s (2014) legal case files folding into themselves, I will show how policy documents, leading up to and following project 1012, shaped perception and the dominant public discourse about prostitution in Amsterdam. This ‘dominant discourse’, is often assumed to be universally true. This research shows how the narratives presented and re-produced can lead to tangible outcomes for people’s everyday lives, because they are often taken as truths.

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Samira van Bohemen, Maja Hertoghs
Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Fijen, S. (2021, June 19). Framing the Windows of Prositution; A study on the discourse of window prostitution in the centre of Amsterdam, folded into policy documents. Sociology. Retrieved from