Sister Wives, Surrogates and Sex Workers : Outlaws by Choice? book cover
1st Edition

Sister Wives, Surrogates and Sex Workers
Outlaws by Choice?

ISBN 9781138247239
Published September 8, 2016 by Routledge
258 Pages

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Book Description

Did she choose that?’ Or, more normatively, ’Why would she choose that?’ This book critiques and offers an alternative to these questions, which have traditionally framed law and policy discussions circulating around controversial genderized practices. It examines the simplicity and incompleteness of choice-based rhetoric and of presumptions that women’s conduct is shaped, in an absolute way, either by choice or by coercion. This book develops an analytical framework that aims to discern the meaning and value that women may ascribe to morally ambiguous practices. An analysis of law’s approach to polygamy, surrogacy and sex work, particularly in Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia, provides a basis for evaluating the choice-coercion binary and for contemplating alternate modes for assessing, from a law and policy standpoint, the palatability of social practices that appear pernicious to women. Weaving together interdisciplinary research, an innovative analytical framework for assessing choices ostensibly harmful to women, and a critique of the legal rules governing such choices, this book bears relevance for students, scholars, practicing jurists and policymakers seeking a richer understanding of conduct that moves women to the margins of law and society.



Angela Campbell is a professor at McGill University’s Faculty of Law and a member of McGill’s Institute of Comparative Law and Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism. She teaches in the areas of family law, criminal law, successions, and health law. Her research in these areas aims to interrogate the interface between law and controversial or unorthodox practices associated with marriage, kinship, sexuality and reproduction. Professor Campbell received her B.A., LL.B. and B.C.L. degrees from McGill University, and her LL.M. degree from Harvard Law School, where she was a Frank Knox Fellow. Prior to becoming a law professor, she served as a law clerk to The Honourable Mr. Justice Frank Iacobucci at the Supreme Court of Canada. Sister Wives, Surrogates and Sex Workers: Outlaws by Choice is her first book.


’Campbell investigates the complexities of women’s agency in the contexts of polygamy, surrogacy and sex work with great sensitivity. Drawing on a wealth of empirical research in order to challenge existing juridical frames premised on the dualism of choice/coercion, this book is instructive reading for all concerned with gender justice.’ Vanessa Munro, University of Nottingham, UK ’This book takes on the critical challenge of 21st century feminism - how to respect women’s choices and agency without abdicating a social, philosophical and moral obligation to recognize and work to ameliorate the burdens that often constrain these choices. It is an important read for scholars and policymakers alike.’ Kimberly A. Yuracko, Northwestern University, USA ’This is a crisply written and thoroughly nuanced examination of the question of women’s agency and the role of the State, and in particular criminal law, in proscribing the ostensibly self-injurious choices of polygamy, surrogacy and sex work. It makes an incredibly valuable contribution to comparing, reframing and rethinking laws on these issues in the UK, Canada and Australia.’ Jenni Millbank, University of Technology Sydney, Australia ’Campbell’s very fine book...both instructs and models...’ Canadian Journal of Women and the Law