Spikningsceremoni: Marco Bacio
Välkommen till spikningsceremonin av Marco Bacios avhandling: "Masculinity at Work: Male-to-Male Internet Escorting in Italy and Sweden".
Spikningsceremonin för doktorand Marco Bacios avhandling "Masculinity at Work: Male-to-Male Internet Escorting in Italy and Sweden" kommer att hållas i Hangaren på Genusvetenskapliga institutionen den 19 april kl 15-16.
Disputationen äger rum på Università di Milano den 11 maj. Opponent är Prof. Teela Sanders, University of Leicester. Betygskommitté består av Prof. Sveva Magaraggia, Università degli Studi di Milano Bicocca, Prof. Ulf Mellström, Karlstad universitet och Doc. David Sausdal Lunds universitet.
This research aims to map and analyse the phenomenon of male sex workers (specifically men who sell sex to other men) in Italy and Sweden. While female sex work has been studied by several scholars worldwide, there is a lack of attention on the male side of the phenomenon. This gap in the academic literature mirrors a more general “invisibility” and “misconception” of the issue in other domains: in politics, the press, and in public opinion. Moreover, although masculinity is a powerful concept in both sociology and gender studies, previous investigations have forgotten to analyse sex work from this viewpoint.
Therefore, the main objective of the research is to analyse sex work from the perspective of masculinity in order to understand what types of relationships are created between sex workers and their clients and what role is played by masculinity; how the relation is shaped by it. Indeed, the first part of this contribution is devoted to the concept of masculinity and to which declinations of masculinities sex workers embody in their encounters with other men, considering the behaviour of both “straight” and “gay” male sex workers. Reflections on the construction of discourses about differing identities in male sex work are particularly useful to understand how – in the cultural contexts of northern and southern Europe – the masculinities involved can re-adapt to the normative gender order which requires the femininisation of men who have sex with other men, and the constant flaunting of a masculinity that can contribute to pluralisation of sexual desires and sexual subjectivities. Since selling sex and sexual services is perceived as a stigmatised activity, especially for those men who self-identified as “heterosexuals”, men who engage in these behaviours need to find ways to justify their presence in the market. At the same time, it is possible to observe the growing presence of self-identified homosexuals in sex work. In the analysis, the behaviour of these two categories of sex workers is then compared to understand differences and commonalities regarding the type of masculinity employed. Indeed, doing sex work is also a way to do masculinity, a means through which sex workers can elevate themselves under different perspectives: socially, economically, and culturally. The research deals with these issues and grapples with the different sides of the phenomenon through a qualitative methodology. In-depth interviews with forty-five sex workers (the so-called “supply-side”) were carried out in Milan and Stockholm to examine the working conditions of sex workers and the types of relationships they establish with their clients. Today, male sex work is strongly related to the use of the internet, new media, and mobile applications (or “apps”). Therefore, it becomes important to analyse how new technologies have shaped this activity and what type of relations they generate in terms of both social class and educational credentials.
Another object of this investigation is the encounter between sex workers and clients, with the focus being on the strategies that sex workers employ and on how emotions and pleasure become instruments of these relations. Indeed, despite previous feminists’ opinions that this relationship is charged with power – that exercised by clients over sex workers – it will be showed that power has a more nuanced presence in male sex working and that the sex workers themselves employ different ways to handle their relationships with clients. The last point touched on deals with clients themselves and their characteristics. If male sex workers have relegated to the margin, their clients are even more marginalised. In the final part of this research some of the primary traits of clients are highlighted along with the motivation behind their decision to buy sex, according to sex workers’ perceptions. All in all, this study shows that sex work in general, and male sex work in particular, can be analysed as an actual job and those who work in the field in the same way as other types of workers.
Hangaren, Genusvetenskapliga institutionen
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