‘Borders and Boundaries’

Demelza and Katy welcome everyone to the next Sociology and Policy Research Workshop which explores the theme of ‘Borders and Boundaries’. 

The workshop will take place on Wednesday 25th February, 1-3pm in NX02, Aston University.

It will consist of three papers from Katy Pilcher, Katie Tonkiss and Flor Gonzalez-Correa (details below) relating in different ways to the workshop theme of ‘Borders and Boundaries’, with time for discussion.

Demelza and Katy welcome all and hope to see you there.

For further details, please contact Demelza (d.jones4@aston.ac.uk).
Details of the papers:

‘Bending’ Gender and Sexual Boundaries? Erotic Performance and Spectatorship in Non-Conventional Erotic Dance Venues.

Dr Katy Pilcher

This paper seeks to highlight the potential ways in which the performance and spectatorship of erotic dance in non-conventional leisure venues within the UK, can potentially ‘bend’, twist or trouble heteronormative gender and sexual boundaries. Drawing upon comparative ethnographic research in two erotic dance venues in the UK, in which women dance for women customers in a lesbian leisure venue, and men dance for women customers in a heterosexual nightclub, this paper fuses feminist and queer theorising as a means for understanding the complex, and contested, meanings and experiences of participants within these intimate spaces. In doing so, I take three issues for closer analysis. Firstly, I question the ‘normativity’ of gendered embodied performances within the venues; secondly, I critically interrogate customers’ conceptions of these strip shows as ‘women’s spaces’, and consider which/whose bodies are seen as ‘out of place’ within this notion; and, lastly, I analyse the potential for both women customers and erotic dancers to exercise a sexualised ‘gaze’ within these venues. These three issues all provide scope for thinking through how boundaries around heteronormativity are negotiated and potentially challenged in certain erotic dance moments and interactions. Overall, I argue that erotic dance performed in non-conventional contexts does not necessarily subvert or ‘bend’ heteronormative power relations as a matter of course. Dancers’ and customers’ engagement with erotic dance is complex, and this paper highlights the tensions around subverting and negotiating heteronormativity, at the same time as indicating the potential ways in which we can read ‘queer moments’ of rupture within erotic dance encounters.

Experiencing Transnationalism at Home: Open Borders and the Everyday Narratives of Non-Migrants.

Dr Katherine Tonkiss

The migration rights literature has engaged with the situated experience of migration to a very limited extent, with particularly little attention paid to non-migrants living in receiving localities where experiences are relatively fixed compared with the fluidity typically associated with transnationalism. This paper challenges disciplinary orthodoxies to argue in favour of the incorporation of non-migrant narrative research into the process of theorising migration rights. The discussion is illustrated with a description of research undertaken within rural migration-receiving communities in England, where non-migrants were found to reproduce meta-narratives of transnational capitalism alongside national belonging in everyday life, with significant consequences for the full realisation of migration rights.
Drawing the Boundaries between “Corporate Social Responsibility” and “Business and Human Rights”

Dr Flor Gonzalez-Correa

The study of the responsibilities of corporations to society has been conducted under two main discourses: corporate social responsibility (CSR) and business and human rights (BHRs). The understanding of CSR has evolved in the last 65 years from a matter of discretional philanthropy to a mainstream business practice closely linked to the companies’ image and reputation. However, it proved to be insufficient to effectively address and prevent some of the impacts of corporate activity on human rights. Partly, as a response to this failure, in 2003, the UN Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights adopted the Norms on the Responsibilities of Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with Regard to Human Rights, which gave origin to the business and human rights issue. A bulk of literature on corporate responsibility has tended to meld both CSR and BHRs discourses. However, this paper intends to draw a boundary between both discourses and explains that in spite of the ostensible convergences, CSR and BHRs have, in fact, critical differences as the former puts the company’s interest at the centre, while the latter is constructed around the moral force of human rights.

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