CFP #AAG2018. ‘Geographies of Sex, Sexuality and Sex Work: Myths, Imaginaries and Realities’. New Orleans, April 10-14 2018

 

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Paul Maginn, Erin Sanders-Mcdonagh and I are pleased to announce the call for papers for this year’s American Association of Geographers Conference in New Orleans in April next year (see more details here: http://www.aag.org/cs/events/event_detail?eventId=1258 ).  Although a geography conference, it is a very interdisciplinary event and we welcome submissions of abstracts from all perspectives on sex, sexuality and sex work.  We have run special sessions on these themes for the last few years at this conference and it is always a really engaging and enjoyable event.  We have also been fortunate in the past to secure some contributory funding for sex workers to attend and present from the conference enrichment fund, and would endeavour to do so again.

Do get in touch if you would like some clarification before submitting something.  The deadline is 16th October to submit an abstract.

 

ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN GEOGRAPHERS CONFERENCE

NEW ORLEANS, 2018

#GEOSEX18 CALL FOR ABSTRACTS/PAPERS

 

Geographies of Sex, Sexuality and Sex Work:

Myths, Imaginaries and Realities

In the past decade questions about sex, sexuality and sex work have come to dominate media, political and social debates. These debates have seen the tectonic plates of ‘conservatism’ and ‘liberalism’ collide and sheer against one another. There is considerable variation in the dynamics of such relations across national and international boundaries. In the predominantly Catholic country of Ireland, for example, a referendum on marriage equality saw the LGBTQ community granted the same rights as heterosexual couples. In Northern Ireland (NI), however, the Protestant-dominated local Assembly has thus far steadfastly refused to pass legislation on marriage equality five times. The failure to pass this legislation has been due largely to opposition from the largest political party in NI –the Democratic Unionist Party – who has effectively vetoed the issue each time it has to a vote. And, in Australia the current Liberal Government has prevaricated on the issue of marriage equality by agreeing to hold a non-binding postal plebiscite on the issue rather than letting the Parliament decide on the issue.

On the matter of sex work, some nations – e.g. Canada, France, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland – have recently introduced legislation that criminalises the purchase of commercial sex services in the name of protecting (female) sex workers and victims of human trafficking. This legislation was introduced in these jurisdictions following major campaigning by conservative politicians, religious organisations, NGOs and radical feminist organisations often working together. Relatedly, other state actors have sought to prohibit access to pornography by framing the consumption of adult entertainment as an issue that affects social and mental well-being. For example, participants at the 2016 Republican National Convention in the USA suggested that viewing pornography constituted a ‘public health crisis’. In the UK the government has recently sought to introduce age verification mechanisms and regulations in order to prevent people from viewing particular sexual acts online.

All the while, the consumption of online (heteronormative) pornography continues to grow year-on-year as data from one of the world’s largest free porn websites reveals each year. There is relatively little publicly available data on the consumption of non-heteronormative types of porn, although anecdotal evidence points to significant growth in “feminist-porn and alt-porn”. Camming has also becoming an increasingly popular mode of adult entertainment, with an estimated 20,000 performers online in the US at any given time. Even professional adult performers now engage in cam-work (and other forms of adult entertainment such as stripping and feature dancing) as a means of generating supplementary income due to the de-industrialisation of the porn industry in the wake of free online porn hosting sites. New and improved technologies have therefore created alternative possibilities for sex work landscapes.

Sexual and gender identity have also been the focus of much heated debate, especially in the last 5 years as debates about transgenderism have become more prominent. The increasing visibility/audibility of transgender people and issues related to trans rights have, in some cases, resulted in moral panics about trans people being in public spaces and using public facilities, especially toilets. Ultimately, trans folk have endured stigma and stereotypes because of their gendered/sexual identities and have been subject to discrimination and a denial of their human rights.

Advances in digital technology and the ‘app-ification’ of smart phones have had a profound impact on the socio-spatial dynamics of human sexuality and commericalised forms of sexual services. The emergence of dating websites, online escort agencies and personal ad sites, hook-up apps and web-camming for personal and commercial purposes have enhanced the opportunity for direct and indirect intimate and risqué experiences. Similarly, the rise of virtual reality, smart sex toys and sex robots have raised various questions about the future direction of human, gender and sexual relations.

In light of the highly complex and dynamic sexual landscapes that characterize the 21st century, this special session – #GeoSex18 – calls for papers that offer critical analyses on a range of myths, imaginaries and realities pertaining to sex, sexuality and sex work that speak to one or more of the following broad topics:

  • Community, diversity and mobility within the sex industry;
  • Community, diversity and mobility within the LGBT community;
  • Gender/sexual identities and fluidities;
  • Sexual dissidents, activism and advocacy;
  • Human trafficking/migrant sex workers;
  • Human and labour rights in sex work;
  • Gentrification and its impacts on queer spaces/red light districts;
  • Health and wellbeing amongst sexual minorities;
  • Stigma/stereotypes/social exclusion of sexual minorities and the sex industry;
  • Crime/violence towards sexual minorities and sex workers;
  • Production/distribution/consumption of pornography/adult entertainment;
  • Geographies of swinging/dogging/cruising;
  • Digital geographies of sex, sexuality and sex work;
  • Virtual reality, sexbots and human sexual relations;
  • Stigma and social exclusion of/in the sex industry;
  • Policing, criminal justice and sexed spaces;
  • Labour rights, health and safety issues within the sex industry;
  • Policy, politics and regulation of sexual landscapes;
  • Reproductive rights;
  • Liminal spaces/stigmatisation of sexuality, sex work and the sex industry;
  • BDSM/Kink/fetish spaces/communities; and
  • Censorship and sexualisation.

The #GeoSex18 special session series welcomes abstracts/papers from scholars, policy researchers within government agencies, consultancies, NGOs and sex work advocacy/support organisations and research-minded sex work activists from a range of disciplines and ideological/theoretical/methodological/empirical standpoints. If you are interested in taking part in this special session please send your abstract including: (i) paper title; (ii) author(s); (iii) institutional affiliation(s); (iv) email addresses; (v) a 250 word (maximum) abstract; and (vi) 5 key words to the co-convenors at GeoSex16@gmail.com by no later than 16th October 2017.

Co-Convenors:

 Dr Paul J. Maginn, University of Western Australia (Australia)

Dr. Emily Cooper, University of Central Lancashire (UK)

Dr. Erin Sanders-McDonagh, University of Kent (UK)

 

Erin also has a new book out this year, entitled Women And Sex Tourism Landscapes, published by Routledge, which may be of interest to potential presenters!   You can view the details here: https://www.routledge.com/Women-and-Sex-Tourism-Landscapes/Sanders-McDonagh/p/book/9781138814547 .

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TEDxLancasterU 2017 Conference, 13th May 2017

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I’m really excited to be giving a Tedx talk about my brothels in the community research at the TedxLancasterU Conference on 13th May – particularly as I have just found out that popcorn and pancakes are to be served!

You can find information about the speakers here.

My little speaker bio is below:

Emily studied for a BSc (Hons) in Geography at Lancaster University, and remained there to complete her PhD in Human Geography (awarded 2014). The PhD focused on the impacts of living in close proximity to brothels on residential communities in Blackpool.  She joined UCLan in 2016 as a Lecturer in Human Geography and a researcher for UCLan Policing.

Emily’s research centres on how sex, space and society interact, with a particular focus on sex work in recent studies.  She is also engaged in projects relating to female ex-offenders and young people at risk of involvement with serious and organised crime.

Sex work is considered to be a problematic feature of urban areas, largely generating fears around crime and disorder. However, robust and inclusive consultations with residential communities about the effects of sex work remain limited.

This talk will draw from conversations with local residents, authorities, and sex workers of Blackpool (UK) and will provide an insight into this under-researched area. Contrary to the assumption that crime and disorder are the only aspects that brothels bring to residential areas, brothels have several roles in Blackpool’s community. These include: economic contributions, heightening feelings of safety, and, quite simply, just being ‘ordinary neighbours’.

I believe these are live streamed (gulp!) and will also be available on YouTube after the event.  Hope to see some of you there!

#AAG2017 – (De)Stigmatising Sexscapes: Politics, Policy and Performance (Boston, USA)

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We (Paul Maginn and Erin Sanders-McDonagh) are pleased to announce our special session at this year’s AAG annual meeting, which is part of the Mainstreaming Human Rights in Geography and the AAG featured theme and also sponsored by the Sexuality and Space Specialty Group.  Please find below the session details and paper titles but I am also taking this opportunity to promote the fantastic new book by Erin: Women and Sex Tourism Landscapes (published by Routledge) which compares female tourists’ interactions in highly sexualised spaces in Thailand and the Netherlands.   Feel free to ask Erin about this during our sessions!

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1606.   (De)Stigmatising Sexscapes: Politics, Policy and Performance I: Porn, Pleasure & Performance (Sponsored by Sexuality and Space Specialty Group)
Room: Room 107, Hynes, Plaza Level  (Paper Session)

Wednesday April 5th, 4:40 pm – 6:20 pm


ORGANIZER(S): Paul J. Maginn, University of Western Australia; Emily Cooper, University of Central Lancashire; Erin Sanders-McDonagh, Middlesex University
CHAIR(S): Paul J. Maginn, University of Western Australia

4:40  Gemma Commane, Dr*, Birmingham City University, Kinktrepreneurship and social media: debates, rights and female subjectivity.
5:05  Joanne Bowring*, Liverpool John Moores University, Stigma in the UK Adult Film Industry.
5:30  Jennifer Heineman, PhD*, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Performing the Whore, Performing the Academic.
5:55  Emily Meyer, Esq.*, University of Cincinnati, The Cam Model: Kinship, Community, and Intimacy.

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2106.   (De)Stigmatising Sexscapes: Politics, Policy and Performance II: 2. Rights, Wrongs and Regulations (Sponsored by Sexuality and Space Specialty Group)
Room: Room 107, Hynes, Plaza Level  (Paper Session)

Thursday April 6th, 8:00 am – 9:40 am


ORGANIZER(S): Paul J. Maginn, University of Western Australia; Emily Cooper, University of Central Lancashire; Erin Sanders-McDonagh, Middlesex University
CHAIR(S): Emily Cooper, University of Central Lancashire

8:00  Laura Graham*, Durham University, The Home Affairs Select Committee Inquiry on Prostitution: Is the time ripe for a Human Rights based approach to sex work?
8:25  Emilia Ljungberg*, Karlstad University, The smiling face of the emotional state.
8:50  Elena Shih*, Brown University; Christine Shio Lim, Brown University; Jordan Rubin-McGregor, Brown University; Imani Herring, Brown University, Building a Movement Against Sex Work in Rhode Island: Anti-Trafficking and Academic Industrial Complexes.
9:15  Billie M Lister, Doctor*, Leeds Beckett University, Time for change? : Indoor sex workers experiences of working under quasi-criminalisation in England and Wales and their ideas for legislative change.

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2206.   (De)Stigmatising Sexscapes: Politics, Policy and Performance III: 3. Governance, Policing and Design (Sponsored by Sexuality and Space Specialty Group)
Room: Room 107, Hynes, Plaza Level  (Paper Session)

Thursday April 6th, 10:00 am – 11:40 am


ORGANIZER(S): Paul J. Maginn, University of Western Australia; Emily Cooper, University of Central Lancashire; Erin Sanders-McDonagh, Middlesex University
CHAIR(S): Gemma Commane, Birmingham City University

10:00  Nicole Kalms*, Monash University, Sex Shop / Pole Dance / Street Work: Heteronormative Architectures of the Neoliberal City.

10:25  Erin Sanders-McDonagh*, University of Kent, Pushing sex work to the margins: The sanitization of Red Light Districts in Amsterdam and London.

10:50  Paul J. Maginn*, University of Western Australia; Emily Cooper, University of Central Lancashire, On-street, Off-street, And Online: The Dynamic Liminalities Of Sex Work.

11:15  Alison Better*, Kingsborough Community College, CUNY, Constructing Space and Community for Sexual and Gender Exploration at Sex Toy Boutiques

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2406.   (De)Stigmatising Sexscapes: Politics, Policy and Performance IV: 4. Production, Consumption and Reflection (Sponsored by Sexuality and Space Specialty Group)
Room: Room 107, Hynes, Plaza Level  (Paper Session)


ORGANIZER(S): Paul J. Maginn, University of Western Australia; Emily Cooper, University of Central Lancashire; Erin Sanders-McDonagh, Middlesex University
CHAIR(S): Emily Cooper, University of Central Lancashire

Thursday April 6th, 1:20 pm – 3:00 pm

1:20  Yo-Hsin Yang*, Negotiating/resisting stigma of sexscapes: gay men’s sex moral performances on tour.

1:40  Victor Trofimov*, European University Viadrina, From commercial sex to homonormativity: changing landscape of male street sex work in Berlin.

2:00  Katharine Parker*, Northumbria University, Public Sex Environments in Contemporary Sexscapes: A Case Study from North East England.

2:20  Nick McGlynn*, University of Brighton, Too Fat, Too Thin, Just Right?: Stigmatised Bodies in Bear Spaces.

2:40  Philip Birch*, Western Sydney University, Prostitution and Procuring Sexual Services: Why men buy sex .

____________________________________________________________________________________________2506.   (De)Stigmatising Sexscapes: Politics, Policy and Performance V: 5. Mobilities, Immobilities and Boundaries (Sponsored by Sexuality and Space Specialty Group)
Room: Room 107, Hynes, Plaza Level  (Paper Session) 

Thursday April 6th, 3:20 pm – 5:00 pm


ORGANIZER(S): Paul J. Maginn, University of Western Australia; Emily Cooper, University of Central Lancashire; Erin Sanders-McDonagh, Middlesex University
CHAIR(S): Erin Sanders-McDonagh, Middlesex University

3:20  Rachel Wotton*, Sex workers who provide services to clients with disability.

3:45  Alison J. Lynch, J.D., M.A.*, Associate Instructor, Mental Disability Law and Policy Associates, Sexuality, Disability and the Law: Beyond the Last Frontier?

4:10  Bella Robinson*, CoyoteRI; Elena Shih, Brown University, Policing Modern Day Slavery: Sex Work and the Carceral State in Rhode Island.

4:35  Laura Connelly, Dr*, University of Salford, Caring for and controlling the subaltern body: Politics, policy and practice within a rescue industry.

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I will be hopefully writing up a blog post after the sessions as usual for those who cannot make it.  Please follow the hashtag #geosex17 and #aag2017 for live tweets!

Bothered by a brothel? How sex work can improve your neighbourhood

Paul Maginn (@planographer) and I recently wrote this article in The Conversation – read the full version here – based on my doctoral research.  You can find more information about the project in this article: http://sex.sagepub.com/content/early/2016/05/27/1363460715616949.abstract

Bothered by a brothel? How sex work can improve your neighbourhood

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Dr Emily Cooper (University of Central Lancashire)
Assoc. Prof. Paul Maginn (University of Western Australia)

The sex industry, specifically sex work and prostitution, has long been perceived and regulated as a “dirty and disorderly” feature of residential communities. The stereotypical, and unfair, view of sex workers is that they are vectors of disease and social contagions; it’s a moral hangover from the Victorians.

Regardless of their legal status, wider society still tends to stigmatise those who provide commercial sexual services, with street-based sex workers often most the subject of public, political and police scrutiny. This is reflected in the regulation and marginalisation of sex work by local and national government policies to dark and secluded areas of cities.

This marginalisation and stigmatisation is because many people’s knowledge and understanding of sex work is generally limited and informed by moral panics and stereotypes – particularly surrounding issues such as STI rates and trafficking. While it is important to recognise that such problems may occur in sex work, it is also important to stress that these are not experienced by the majority of those engaged in consensual sex work and should certainly not be portrayed as being the most important factor in all sex worker narratives.

Nevertheless, local councils and police forces periodically engage in “clean-up” campaigns that seek to purge local areas of sex work. The police raids in Soho during December 2013, when around 200 police targeted dozens of premises, have been one of the most high-profile examples of this strategy.

Such raids are generally justified by the media and local authorities on the basis that locals, especially women and children, need to be protected from the harmful effects of “sleaze”.

Interestingly, however, there has been little detailed or systematic research on the impacts of sex work on residential communities. Generally speaking, local authority “clean-up” strategies tend to be based not on science, but on a small number of complaints from a vocal minority who assert particular moral agendas.

The evidence that sex work is a problematic issue is rather limited, but it is clear that sex workers themselves are not considered community members and are rarely consulted about their own concerns and needs. Sex workers are just ordinary people – someone’s mother, aunt, brother, friend – trying to make a living.

Research by Phil Hubbard and colleagues, Penny Crofts, Sarah Kingston, and Emily Cooper’s own work suggests that sex work contributes to residential communities in much more complex ways than is commonly portrayed in the media.

Sarah Kingston’s research on the impact of sex work on residential communities in Leeds highlights that the presence of sex workers can actually generate positive outcomes. For example, they (and associated clients, etc) provide passive surveillance against criminal activities and will report crimes. In addition, sex workers and their clients also contribute to local economies via the renting of premises, booking hotel rooms and spending money in local shops, bars and restaurants.

The Blackpool community

Cooper’s research on massage parlours and surrounding residential communities in Blackpool, reinforces these findings. 53 in-depth interviews were conducted (often more than once) with local residents, as well as a number of sex workers, police officers and council officers. Observations were also made over an 18-month period.

Those parlours surrounded by other non-sex work businesses and residences were often referred to by nearby non-sex work business workers as a means of breaking the ice and building rapport with customers, because of questions asked about the parlours being there. Reputedly, for some residents, the parlours also brightened up the mundane routine of peoples’ daily social and work lives. This was also reinforced in Kingston’s findings.

More crucially, some residents highlighted that the parlours – and their 24-hour vibrantly neon-lit presence – engendered a feeling of security in an area that is commonly frequented by “either nobody or large groups of stag parties, which can be a bit intimidating” (quote from resident).

Such views dismantle the common narrative, which suggests that the sex industry is something that attracts criminality rather than a feeling of security.

The Blackpool Gazette often uses “dirt and disgust” rhetoric to characterise the impact of massage parlours and the subsequent “clean-up” campaigns by regulatory bodies. Despite this, plus the ongoing effects of the recent recession, the massage parlours have shown resilience and remain an integral part of the social and economic fabric of Blackpool.

The stigma and stereotyping that tends to surround sex workers (and their clients) has the effect of alienating them and diminishing their sense of safety when working.

Very few residents in the study explicitly stated that they would like to see the sex industry removed. Those that did so were coming from either a stereotypical view of sex work as being inherently harmful or criminal, or from a desire to protect sex workers, who they considered friends and neighbours, from “dodgy clients”. Many residents discussed spending time with sex workers, as they would with any other neighbour.

Despite the fact that several sex workers in my study area lived locally, the long-established presence of massage parlours in Blackpool, and the friendly relationships between sex workers and wider community members, sex workers were still excluded from certain community spaces.

One sex worker, for example, noted that although she had a good relationship with residents adjacent to her place of work, she and another worker were asked to leave a Police and Community Together meeting by other residents because the meeting was “partly about them”.

Moving forward

Such exclusionary actions merely serve to reinforce the stigma imposed on sex workers and deny them their basic democratic rights. Community-based policy and consultation processes need to be more inclusive and appreciative of the fact that sex workers are as much a part of the local community as the next person. Their presence in and near residential communities needs to be viewed through a wider lens based on evidence, rather than a narrow moral one under the control of a vocal minority.

Emerging research suggests that the role and impact of sex work on local areas is more multi-faceted and less extraordinary than is commonly portrayed in the media or television dramas. The urban mythology and regulatory fetish surrounding sex work needs to be dispelled.

A more productive policy approach to regulating commercial sex premises would be to treat them like any other business. Ultimately, sex work should be decriminalised as this regulatory approach offers what other approaches don’t – it guarantees the greater safety, health and well-being of sex workers.


 

Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting 2015, Chicago

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So it is a mere two weeks until the AAG annual meeting in Chicago and I am very excited for the fantastic sessions we have lined up, as well as the meet/tweet ups with several colleagues/friends.  It also just struck me that I was in New York this time last year – hopefully the USA visit is an April tradition I can keep up! 🙂

Paul (@Planographer), Martin (@Zebracki) and I have spent the last few months organising the logistics for our sessions, which are entitled: (De)Sexualisation & (De)Politicisation of Space I-7.  We have a diverse range of speakers including early career and established academics, researchers, sex workers and journalists.   Here is the line up (click the links for the abstract details):

 

(De)Sexualisation & (De)Pornification of Space I: Methodological Frontiers (Thursday 23rd April) http://http://meridian.aag.org/callforpapers/program/SessionDetail.cfm?SessionID=22314&cal=true

*Robyn Longhurst, PhD – University of Waikato – Skype Sex, Love and Romance

*Danielle Antoinette Hidalgo, PhD – Montana State University – Virtual Spaces of Possibility in the Classroom: Teaching Porn, Sex Work and Sexuality in Unlikely Spaces

*Olga Castro – Aston University, Birmingham – Sex in the Media: A Discourse Analysis of Prostitution Ads in the Spanish Press

*Andrew Fogg – Hot spots! Geographic distribution of sex workers and the contribution that sex work/prostitution makes to the UK economy.

 

(De)Sexualisation & (De)Pornification of Space II: Insider/Outsider Perspectives (Friday 24th April) http://meridian.aag.org/callforpapers/program/SessionDetail.cfm?SessionID=22329&cal=true

Christina Parreira, M.A. – University of Nevada, Las Vegas – Auto-Ethnographic Reflections on Selling Sex in the Nevada Desert 

*Lucy Neville, PhD – Middlesex University – ‘I don’t want to be presented as some sort of freak-show… but you’re ‘one of us”: Researching women’s engagement with gay male erotica from within the community

Amy E. Ritterbusch, PhD – Universidad de los Andes – “My Life in Four Blocks”: The Geopolitics of Transgender Sex Work in Colombia

Tessa Wills – CHARGE: Economies of Desire In The Performance Practice of Tessa Wills

 

(De)Sexualisation & (De)Pornification of Space III: Sex Work(er) Markets and Mobilities (Friday 24th April) http://meridian.aag.org/callforpapers/program/SessionDetail.cfm?SessionID=22547&cal=true

*Ari Bass, JD – From Frisco to Vegas: The Economic Geography of the American Commercial Pornosphere

*Trevon D. Logan – The Ohio State University – Men on the Move: The Traveling Patterns Of Male Sex Workers In The U.S.

*Kristien Lieve Gillis – University of Antwerp – The economic organization of street prostitution in the Alhambra area in Brussels

*Nick Skilton – University of Wollongong – Mining and Sex Work: Recentring the margins of unequal labour laws.

 

(De)Sexualisation & (De)Pornification of Space IV: Queerying Sex Work, Sexuality and Public Spaces (Friday 24th April) http://meridian.aag.org/callforpapers/program/SessionDetail.cfm?SessionID=22550&cal=true

*Chen David Misgav – Tel-Aviv University – Gay-Riatric: Spatial Politics and Activism of Elderly Gay Men in Tel-Aviv Gay Center

*Martin Zebracki – University of Leeds, United Kingdom – Virtually Mediated Encounters with ‘Pornographic’ Public Art

Victor Minichiello, PhD – La Trobe University; John Scott, PhD – Queensland University of Technology; Denton Callander, PhD – University of New South Wales – Men who sell sex (and risk) online: Using the Internet to examine the sexual practices of male escorts

Michal Pitonak – Charles University in Prague – Four years of Prague Pride: a celebration, political march or something else?

 

(De)Sexualisation & (De)Pornification of Space V: Governance and Regulation of Sex Work (Saturday 24th April) http://meridian.aag.org/callforpapers/program/SessionDetail.cfm?SessionID=22556&cal=true

*Laura Graham – Durham University – Governing Sex Work Through Crime

*Derek Eysenbach – Sonoma State University – From Streetwalkers to Slaves: Prostitution Discourse and Regulation in Sonoma County, CA

*Emily Cooper, Ph.D – Northumbria University – Cohesion, codes and cosmic ordering: understanding community impact when researching and regulating spaces of sex work

*Lynn Comella, Ph.D. – University of Nevada – Las Vegas – Geographies of Porn: Public Policies and Industrial Practices

 

(De)Sexualisation & (De)Pornification of Space VI: Consuming/Producing/Regulating Sexualised Spaces (Saturday 24th April) http://meridian.aag.org/callforpapers/program/SessionDetail.cfm?SessionID=22871&cal=true

*Katie Hail-Jares – Georgetown University – Meeting the New Neighbors: Trans- Identity, Sex Work, and Gentrification in the Nation’s Capital

Curtis Winkle – University of Illinois at Chicago – The Dynamics Gay Commercial Districts and Their Regulation, Chicago 1920-2010

*Ingrid Olson, PhD Candidate – University of British Columbia – The Hermeneutics of the Dungeon

 

(De)Sexualisation & (De)Pornification of Space VII: The (Im)Moral Landscapes of Sex Work (Saturday 24th April) http://meridian.aag.org/callforpapers/program/SessionDetail.cfm?SessionID=23331&cal=true

*Erin Sanders-McDonagh – Middlesex University – Women’s Consumption of Live Sex: Understanding Public Sex Performance in Thailand and the Netherlands

*Paul J. Maginn, Assoc. Prof – University of Western Australia; Graham Ellison, Dr – Queen’s University of Belfast – Who needs evidence when you have blind faith on your side? The ethno-religious and gendered politics of sex work/prostitution in Northern Ireland

*Serpent Libertine, Community Organizer, Activist – SWOP-Chicago, Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) – Displaced: The Role of Moral Panics in the Destruction of Sex Worker Spaces

*Melissa Gira Grant – Journalist – w4m: The End of the American Red Light District _________________________________________________________________________________________________

Paul was also recently interviewed by Dan Miller at xbiz.com about the sessions, which can be found here: http://www.xbiz.com/news/192382. We will aim to try and be as inclusive as possible with the dissemination of the discussions, using Twitter and social media alongside seeking several publication outlets. Many of the speakers are on Twitter also if anybody wishes to connect with them before the conference.

If you are coming along to the AAG, we do hope that you will check out our sessions! I look forward to many discussions (and beers).  We will have a sub-conference hashtag, so alongside the #AAG2015, follow #geogsex15.

(Sub)Urban Sexscapes: Geographies and Regulation of the Sex Industry (Edited by Assoc. Prof. Paul Maginn (UWA) and Dr. Christine Steinmetz (UNSW)

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Please find attached below the UK promo brochure for (Sub)Urban Sexscapes: Geographies and Regulation of the Sex Industry, edited by Assoc. Prof. Paul Maginn (UWA) and Dr. Christine Steinmetz (UNSW).

(Sub)Urban Sexscapes will be of interest to geographers/sociologist/planners with an interest in various aspects of commercialised sex. It brings together a mix of established and early career academics from Australia, the UK, USA and Europe.  It promises to be a great read, and I can’t wait for my copy.

Paul will be attending this year’s RGS/IBG conference and presenting in the special session – Researching Sexed Spaces: (Re)Imagining the Researcher and (Re)Discovering the ‘Other’ in Understanding Experiences of Exclusion – that Gemma Ahearne (@princessjack) and I are convening on 28th August.

Sub Urban Sexscapes UK Flyer (2)

CFP: Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting 2015 – (De)Sexualisation & (De)Pornification of Space: Spatialisation, Politicisation and Regulation of Sex, Sexuality, Sex Work & Pornography

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I am very pleased to announce our call for papers for the AAG annual meeting 2015 (Chicago).

2015 Annual Meeting

Association of American Geographers (AAG) Chicago, April 21-25, 2015

Special Session – Call for Papers

(De)Sexualisation & (De)Pornification of Space: Spatialisation, Politicisation and Regulation of Sex, Sexuality, Sex Work & Pornography

Paul J. Maginn (The University of Western Australia, Australia), Emily Cooper (Lancaster University, UK) & Martin Zebracki (University of Leeds, UK)

This special session, which is sponsored by the Sexuality and Space Speciality Group of the AAG, invites abstracts/papers from contributors – academics, policymakers, sex workers and ‘sex industry’ advocates – conducting research focusing on the spatial, social, political, cultural, economic and regulatory contours surrounding sexuality, sex work and pornography.

Attwood et al (2013:1) have recently noted that ‘[o]ne of the key concerns within the wider anxiety about sexualization is that deviant, or abnormal, forms of sexuality and sexual practice are becoming “normalized”’. This echoes concerns about the mainstreaming of various forms of commercial sex; most notably, sex work/prostitution and pornography which can be found in a variety of physical and virtual spaces (Minichiello and Scott; 2014; McNair, 2012; Brents and Sanders, 2010; McNair 2006). Concerns about the normalization of deviant/abnormal sexual practices and commercialised forms of sex are largely a function of our social, cultural and political worlds being predominantly heteronormative in character (Hubbard, 2008; Doan, 2011). Relatedly, as Dabhiowala (2012:13) has highlighted in relation to the first sexual revolution during the 1600s, the Catholic and Protestant churches set about reforming sexual morals via ‘an intensification of Christian propaganda, and action, against fornication, adultery, prostitution, and sodomy’.

Moral panics have been an enduring facet of efforts to regulate sex, sexuality and sex work since the Victorian era (Hubbard, 2011; Weitzer 2005; Sullivan, 1997). Such moral panics have traditionally been instigated on the pretence that those directly engaged in supplying commercial sexual services (i.e. women) are in need of rescuing and that wider society needs to be protected from the supposed ‘contagious’, ‘corrupting’ and ‘criminalistic’ effects of particular sexual practices/groups.

The last decade has witnessed ‘a renewed moral panic and crusade’ (Maginn and Steinmetz, 2014) against sex work and pornography (Gira Grant, 2014; McNair, 2012). This new wave of moralism has been perpetuated by an interesting mix of actors – Christian organisations, women support groups and so-called anti-sex radical feminists – from seemingly opposing ends of the political spectrum. Resultantly, there have been concerted efforts in Scotland, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, France, the EU and, more recently, Canada to introduce the ‘Swedish model’. This model seeks to not only regulate sex work but also prevent human trafficking, which is argued to be a major reason why so many women are engaged in sex work. However it is argued by some scholars and various sex worker organisations that this mode of regulation denies the existence of female agency; overlooks the diverse gendered, sexual and generational backgrounds of sex workers; fails to recognise sex work as a legitimate form of labour; and, effectively criminalises sex workers despite the focus on demand. Ultimately, it is claimed that the ‘Swedish model’ does more harm than good by driving sex work underground, thereby perpetuating myths, stereotypes and stigma about sex work and sex workers.

Similarly, there have been calls from within the feminist movement, political actors and NGOs for greater regulation of adult entertainment and pornography. Hubbard and Lister (2014), for example, note that. in relation to strip clubs/lap dance clubs in England, the Home Office (2010) introduced guidelines to complement the Policing and Crime Act 2009 so that local councils could exert greater regulatory authority over the number and geography of such venues. Stop Porn Culture, an international feminist anti-porn organisation, considers pornography to be ‘misogynistic both in its production and consumption’ and has set itself the goal of ‘ending industries of sexual exploitation’ (www.stoppornculture.org). And, in California, the epicenter of global porn production, LA County introduced legislation, Measure B, mandating that condoms must be worn during porn shoots. A similar bill, AB1576, with state-wide implications has recently been introduced. Various adult performers and producers have expressed concerns about these regulations arguing that they represent an attempt to eliminate the porn industry. There is anecdotal evidence to suggest that rather than being killed off, the porn industry is simply relocating to other areas – e.g. Las Vegas, Miami and Arizona – with more liberal regulations.

Since the late 1980s, queer studies, inspired by feminist critiques of sexuality including pornography, have critically examined the lives and social encounters of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBTs) in the context of their everyday sexual representations and the ensuing activism and alternative, more-than-sexual displays of citizenship and belonging (Attwood, 2002; Zebracki, 2014). These studies have focused on the fluidity and situatedness of the performed and negotiated identities of ‘sexual dissidents’, and the intersectionalities inherent in understanding sexed differences. Ultimately, they serve as a fruitful angle to deconstruct and reconsider the sexual politics encapsulated in the norms, values and legislative frameworks that have come to define hegemonic landscapes of the production and consumption of sex work and pornography.

In conclusion, despite the historical efforts to regulate, contain and even eliminate particular commercial sexual spaces, (consensual) sex practices, and/or minority sexual groups, these spaces and communities have endured and become an increasingly common feature of our cities and towns and given rise to highly complex, dynamic physical and virtual ‘(sub)urban sexscapes’ (Maginn and Steinmetz, 2014). This special session is about exploring and unravelling that dynamism and complexity.

In the pursuit of academic freedom and inclusiveness, the organisers are keen to encourage abstracts/papers from a range of disciplinary and ideological standpoints. Papers may be methodological, theoretical and/or empirical in their orientation and should focus on one (or more) of the following broad, but by no means definitive, topics:

  • The (de)sexualisation/(de)pornification of urban/rural/virtual spaces;
  • Sex work and pornography in interface with LGBT spaces and organising;
  • Kink spaces/communities involving bondage and discipline (BD), dominance and submission (DS), sadism and masochism (SM) (BDSM);
  • Gender, sexual and racial diversity in sex work and pornography;
  • The geography and regulation of sex work/prostitution, adult entertainment and pornography;
  • The economic geography of queerness, sex work and pornography;
  • Culture, meaning, symbolism, practice and performance in/of sexuality and sexual spaces;
  • (De)stigmatisation and inclusion/exclusion of sexual minorities;
  • Globalisation of commercial sex and sexual identities/communities;
  • Human trafficking, migrant sex workers and sexual mobilities;
  • Sex, sexuality and sexualisation in/of popular culture and the media;
  • ‘Deviant’ sex work and pornography beyond straight male markets – from heteronormative to homonormative sex work and porn spaces;
  • ‘Pro-sex’ and ‘anti-sex’ feminisms and masculinities in sex work and pornography

If you are interested in taking part in this special session, please send a 250-word abstract, including title, author(s), institutional affiliation(s), e-mail address(es) and 5 key words, to ALL special session co-organisers by 13 October 2014.

Selected contributors are asked to submit 200-word abstracts on the conference website by 5 November 2014. All presenters should settle the registration fee before they can submit abstracts.

Best wishes,

Assoc. Professor Paul J. Maginn (lead co-organiser) Paul.Maginn@uwa.edu.au

Dr Emily Cooper – E.Cooper2@lancaster.ac.uk 

Dr Martin Zebracki – M.M.Zebracki@leeds.ac.uk

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