Putting sexualized labour in the picture: encoding ‘reasonable entitlement’ in the lap dancing industry

Sophie Hales, Kathleen Riach, Melissa Tyler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

This article is based on a semiotic analysis of corporate websites in the lap dancing industry. Forming part of a larger ethnographic study of the UK lap dancing industry, it focuses on how the exchange relationship between dancers and customers is shaped by the industry’s online presence. Methodologically, it draws on Hancock’s semiotic approach to the analysis of organizational artefacts and Brewis’s writing on the importance of understanding how sex work is constructed and perceived. The article shows the importance of corporate websites as virtual spaces that landscape customer expectations of the exchange relationship emphasizing how these expectations perpetuate, on the one hand, a very prescriptive range of body images shaping the performance and consumption of lap dancing work, and on the other, an ambiguous suggestion of open-ended possibility. The article argues that, in combination, this landscaping of prescription and possibility constitutes a powerful organization of anticipation underpinning perceptions of reasonable entitlement within the lap dancing exchange relationship considering how this impacts upon the dancers’ experiences of this relationship. The analysis highlights both the importance of virtual corporate spaces in landscaping interactive service exchanges, as well as the intensification that results from the ambiguity encoded within these spaces, requiring service providers to reconcile anticipation and experience, prescription and possibility, within the exchange relationship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)783-801
Number of pages19
JournalOrganization
Volume26
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019

Keywords

  • Anticipation
  • corporate websites
  • interactive service work
  • landscaping
  • lap dancing industry
  • semiotics
  • sexuality

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