Call for Papers: Researching Sexed Spaces: (Re)Imagining the Researcher and (Re)Discovering the ‘Other’ in Understanding Lived Experiences of Exclusion”

I am very excited to announce our call for papers. The deadline for abstracts is very tight, 11th February, so please do share widely and contact us for any extra information.

The Royal Geographical Conference website is here 26th to 29th August 2014, held at Imperial College London.

We aim for this to be a cutting edge, innovative exciting stream, cutting across disciplines and attracting submissions from those outside academia. We particularly welcome abstracts from charities, independent researchers, and sex workers themselves.

All information below:

Session Title “Researching Sexed Spaces: (Re)Imagining the Researcher and (Re)Discovering the ‘Other’ in Understanding Lived Experiences of Exclusion” (Sponsored by the Space, Sexualities & Queer Research Group) Organisers: Emily Cooper (Lancaster University) and Gemma Ahearne (Leeds Metropolitan University)

Recent decades have produced a rapid emergence of research in geography surrounding the complex relationship between sexuality, space and society and the centrality of sexuality in the late modern world (Attwood 2006).  Of particular relevance – although not exhaustively – have been: the geographies of sex work, LGBT communities, virtual sexed spaces, sex tourism (especially in reaction to large sports events) and lap dancing establishments.  The role of space and place in the constitution of sexual identities – and in the control of those considered to be sexually dissident – have been understood by geographers particularly (Hubbard 2008).   This dissidence and often subsequent socio-spatial marginalisation especially relates to the challenge of heteronormative ideals and spaces that is ascribed to and by stigmatised sexual identities (Binnie and Valentine 1999; Peterson 2011; Hubbard et al 2013).

It has been acknowledged, therefore, that due to the stigmatised nature of certain sexual identities, it is difficult to access these hidden populations (Shaver 2005) and to provide them with a voice (Hubbard 1999).  Recently, however, there has been an increased interest in exploring methods that allow researchers to overcome and challenge the often homogeneous depictions of excluded groups (Binnie and Valentine 1999; Shaver 2005) and to explore the lived experiences of their socio-spatial spheres via the empowerment of the othered population; researching, therefore with participants rather than about them (Desyllass 2013) in the form of participatory methods, ethno-mimesis and other such approaches.  This culminates in the co-production of knowledge in research.  Exploring inter-disciplinarity – particularly between geography, sociology and the arts – is therefore of particular relevance.

We invite papers from a range of global contexts that explore researching sexed spaces, with a particular interest in methodological and empirical frameworks, but we would welcome a theoretical focus.  We also particularly encourage papers from outside of academia, including – but not restricted to – charities, outreach organisations and support groups, in order to encourage the forging of academic/activist/practitioner collaborations. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

– Inter-disciplinarity in researching sexed spaces

– New/adapted methods in understanding the lived experiences of stigma and exclusion

– Ethno-mimesis and performative praxis

– Researching liminal spaces and identities

– The Self/Other dichotomy

– The role of policy/regulation in shaping the geographies of sexed spaces

– Challenges faced in researching sexed spaces and/or marginalised groups

– Managing emotions in fieldwork

Please send an abstract of no more than 250 words to Emily Cooper (e.cooper2@lancs.ac.uk) or Gemma Ahearne (g.ahearne6856@student.leedsmet.ac.uk) by 11th February 2014.

References
Attwood, F. (2006) “Sexed up: Theorizing the Sexualization of Culture”. Sexualities 9 (1), pp. 77-94

Binnie, J. and Valentine, G. (1999) Geographies of sexualities: a review of progress. Progress in Human Geography 23, pp. 175-187.

Desyllass, M. (2013) “Using photo-voice with sex workers: The power of art, agency and resistence”. Qualitative Social Work (available online http://qsw.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/08/22/1473325013496596.full.pdf+html)

Hubbard, P. (1999) “Researching female sex work: reflections on geographical exclusion, critical methodologies and ‘useful’ knowledge”. Area 31 (3), pp. 229-237

Hubbard, P. (2008). “Here, there, everywhere: the ubiquitous geographies of heteronormativity”. Geography Compass, 2 (3), pp. 640 – 658

Hubbard, P. Boydell, S., Crofts, P., Prior, J. and Searle, G. (2013) “Noxious neighbours? Interrogating the impacts of sex premises in residential areas”. Environment and Planning A 45, pp. 126-141

Peterson, G. (2011) “Neoliberal Homophobic Discourse: Heteronormative Human Capital and the Exclusion of Queer Citizens” Journal of Homosexuality 58 (6-7), pp. 747-757

Shaver, F. (2005) “Sex work research: methodological and ethical challenges”. Journal of Interpersonal Violence 20 (3), pp. 296-319

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