Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

Sociology and Social Policy

The Regulatory Dance

March 2010 - June 2011

The purpose of this research is to explore the rise, tolerance and integration of sexual consumption and sexual labour displayed through the erotic dance industry which is symbolic of the commodification of the female body in late capitalism. 

Examining how female sexuality has been commercialised and now merges easily with traditional forms of leisure in the city, provides a window into further understanding larger social issues such as the feminisation of poverty; the consequences of student debt and the impact of changes in Higher Education; the diversification of feminised employment patterns that rely on 'body work' and the impacts of new licensing regulations. 

The aims of the project are:

  • examine the supply of dancers, their experiences of dancing and their working conditions;
  • explore how industry management have 'mainstreamed' striptease and become acceptable in the high street; and
  • uncover the competing interests between erotic dance businesses, law enforcement and licensing processes. 

The methodology consists of a survey of 300 dancers, with follow-up interviews, and interviews with industry management and regulators.  To make comparisons between locations, a city and neighbouring town in the North of England have been chosen.

Project Publications

Final Findings of Lap Dancing Study (Dec 2011)

Visual Findings Summary

Comment on Media Coverage

Listen to what dancers say

The Special Report on the LSSI website includes a video which makes the connections between research and teaching, demonstrating the cyclical nature of research informing teaching content and practices, whilst at the same time feeding back into the reflexive research process.

A summary of the preliminary findings from the 'Regulatory Dance' ESRC funded project on striptease in the UK by Teela Sanders and Kate Hardy is available as a Special Report on the LSSI website. We also include some visual methods done in partnership with some dancers and photographer Liz Lock.

'Sexual Entertainment Venues: Regulating Working Conditions' ESRC follow on funding 2011-2012

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