Ronald Weitzer

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Ronald Weitzer

Professor of Sociology

Emeritus Faculty


801 22nd St. Washington DC 20052

Ronald Weitzer received his PhD in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley in 1985.  He taught at George Washington University from 1988 to 2019, and is now Professor Emeritus.  He is a criminologist, and much of his research has investigated police-minority relations in the United States and in other nations (including Northern Ireland and South Africa).  He is also an expert on the sex industry, with particular expertise on American policies and law enforcement on prostitution and sex trafficking, and has authored a number of studies focused on Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands.  A recently completed project involved extensive field research on the sex industry in Thailand. He served as a member of a commission (2020-2021) that recommended reforms in policing in the United States, sponsored by the National Police Foundation. For additional information, go to Ronald Weitzer's Wikipedia page.

Current research includes a study of media representations of police misconduct and research on prostitution in Thailand.

Undergraduate Courses:
SOC 2111 - Field Research
SOC 2177 - Sociology of the Sex Industry
SOC 2178 - Deviance & Control
SOC 4192 - Advanced Seminar: Criminal Justice

Graduate Courses:
SOC 6132 - Qualitative Research Methods
SOC 6258 - Deviance & Control
SOC 6259 - Criminology
SOC 6273 - The Sex Industry


2023. Sex Tourism in Thailand: Inside Asia's Premier Erotic Playground. New York University Press.

2023. Sex for Sale: Prostitution, Pornography, and the Sex Industry. 3rd Edition, Routledge Press.

2012. Legalizing Prostitution: From Illicit Vice to Lawful Business. New York University Press.

2006. Race and Policing in America: Conflict and Reform. Cambridge University Press (with Steven Tuch).

Recent Articles

2021. “Interaction Rituals and Sexual Commerce in Thailand’s Erotic Bars,” Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, v. 50: 622-648

2021. “Legal Prostitution Systems in Europe,” in Contemporary Organized Crime, 2nd Edition, edited by H. Nelen and D. Siegel. New York: Springer.

2020. "Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking," Great Decisions (annual journal of the Foreign Policy Association), pages 41-52 

2020. “The Campaign Against Sex Work in the United States: A Successful Moral Crusade,” Sexuality Research and Social Policy, v.17: 399-414

2018. “Young Men Doing Business: Male Bar Prostitution in Berlin and Prague,” Sexualities, v.21: 1389-1408 (with Graham Ellison)

  2018. “Resistance to Sex Work Stigma,” Sexualities, v. 21: 717-729

2018. “Becoming a Client: The Socialization of Novice Buyers of Sexual Services,” Deviant Behavior, v.39: 148-158 (with Abbe Horswill)

2017, “Theorizing Racial Discord over Policing Before and After Ferguson,” Justice Quarterly, v. 34, no.7

2017. “Recent Ethnographies of the Criminal Justice System,” Society, v.54 (May-June): 292-298

2017, “The Dynamics of Male and Female Street Prostitution in Manchester, England,” Men & Masculinities, v. 20: 181-203 (with Graham Ellison)

2016, “Framing Human Trafficking: A Content Analysis of Recent U.S. Newspaper Articles,” Journal of Human Trafficking, v.2: 139-155 (with Rachealle Sanford & Daniel Martinez)

2015. “Human Trafficking and Contemporary Slavery,” Annual Review of Sociology, v.41: 223-242

2015. “American Policing under Fire: Misconduct and Reform,” Society, v.52, no.5 (September): 475-480

2015. “Ghent’s Red-Light District in Comparative Perspective,” Sexuality Research and Social Policy, v. 12: 248-260 (with Dominique Boels)

2014. “The Social Ecology of Red-Light Districts: A Comparison of Antwerp and Brussels,” Urban Affairs Review, v.50: 702-730

2014. “The Puzzling Neglect of Hispanic Americans in Research on Police-Citizen Relations,” Ethnic and Racial Studies, v. 37: 1995-2013  

2012. "The Intimacy Prism: Emotion Management Among the Clients of Escorts," Men and Masculinities, v. 15: 447-467 (with Christine Milrod)

PhD University of California at Berkeley, 1985