I am very pleased to advertise our special session at the RGS Annual International Conference (28th August 2014). Gemma Ahearne (@princessjack) and I are looking forward to hearing some fantastic papers. Here is the session description:
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 have papers from a range of global contexts that discuss researching sexed spaces, with fantastic speakers from a variety of backgrounds. The theme of the conference particularly encourages the coming together of academic and non-academic worlds, and Gemma and I are keen to advocate this in our field especially. Here are the list of papers:
We really hope that you can attend, and please do advertise widely to anybody you think might be interested! We know it will be a really engaging and thought-provoking session. We will be live tweeting from the session – hashtag to come shortly.