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'Yeah, they’ve started to get a bit fucking cocky’… Culture, economic change and shifting power relations within the Scottish lap-dancing industry

Lister, Billie

Authors

Billie Lister



Abstract

This article is informed by data taken from wider findings from a Ph.D study in which the author worked as a stripper in a lap-dancing venue in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK. Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland and, at the time of writing, is home to five venues. The data was collected over a ten month period in 2011. The findings are generated through in-depth interviews with a number of women who worked in lap-dancing venues across Scotland, and the findings reflect their experiences of their involvement in this changing industry. By using dancers’ voices, this work contributes to the growing body of literature which supports the complex and contradictory nature of involvement in the sex industry (Bradley-Engen and Ulmer, 2009; Sanders et al, 2009). In doing so, I reveal how dancers’ working experiences are fluid, and subject to change in accordance with economic and cultural shifts outside the venue. These elements, I argue, directly impact not only upon the generation of income, but also on the power relations within clubs, resulting in a far more precarious form of labour than previously. It is suggested that dancing as a strategy for sustaining a viable income as a stand-alone form of work ended in 2008 in response to the economic crisis (Sanders and Hardy, 2015). Until then, although always precarious, dancers reported that their work provided them with an acceptable standard of living (Sanders and Hardy, 2015). The findings of this Scottish study support Sanders and Hardy’s research, which took place in England. The definition of economy used here differs from that used by Brents and Sanders (2010, 43), who refer to it in combination with mainstreaming and involves ‘processes that push businesses towards smoother integration with mainstream economic institutions’. Within this article I refer to economic impact as a wide spread reduction in disposable income amongst average workers (Sanders and Hardy, 2014) that has contributed to the declining earning possibilities within the lap-dancing industry as the result of the economic recession.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2015
Electronic ISSN 1572-3763
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 11
Issue 2
Pages 38-54
APA6 Citation Lister, B. (2015). 'Yeah, they’ve started to get a bit fucking cocky’… Culture, economic change and shifting power relations within the Scottish lap-dancing industry. Graduate journal of social sciences, 11(2), 38-54
Keywords Sex work; Gender; Power; Labour; Mainstreaming
Publisher URL http://gjss.org/11/02

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This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.



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