PhD/ECR upcoming event

Research reflections roundtable:

Work, class and gender ‘Work and Exploitation’

Wednesday 25th of April, 2018, 1.30pm-3.45pm

City, University of London Northampton Square Campus, College Building, St Johns Street, Room AG03

Hosted by the City, University of London Department of Sociology


1.30pm-2.00pm: Networking lunch

2.00pm-2.10pm: Introductions

2.10pm-3.10pm: Presentations

3.10pm-3.30pm: Thoughts from discussants & Group debate

3.30pm-3.45pm: Closing remarks


Professor Julia O’Connell Davidson, Professor in Social Research, University of Bristol and Professor Bridget Anderson, Professor of Migration, Mobilities and Citizenship, University of Bristol.

Dr Vanessa Gash (Senior Lecturer in Sociology, City, University of London)


Rima Saini (PhD Quantitative Sociology, City, University of London)

Jessica Simpson (PhD Sociology, City, University of London)

Laura Shand (PhD Health and Social Care, University of Hull)

Yvonne Ehrstein (PhD Sociology, City, University of London)


Twitter: @CitySociology

Rima Saini

This paper will discuss the phenomenon of ‘ethnic capital’ and co-ethnic exploitation amongst second generation British South Asian professionals. It will focus on the concept of the ‘ethnic work ethic’ as an ethnic resource – both a tangible strategy that has enabled ethnic minority communities in the UK to fast-track their mobility, and a symbolic group attribute associated with hard work, dignity, and success. It is a concept which has endured beyond the ‘curry houses and corner shops’, and still governs the practices and beliefs of many second generation professionals, notably those who have rejected mainstream professional companies and established their own ethnic businesses. The paper will problematise the concept of the ethnic work ethic on two fronts: firstly, the role of this concept / discourse in legitimising self-exploitation and exploitation of community members; and secondly, the efficacy as well as desirability of these strategies amongst younger, second generation professionals looking to thrive beyond the ethnic enclave.

Jessica Simpson

Jessica’s paper will discuss some of the exploitative practices carried out within UK strip clubs and the impact this has on erotic dancers as a result of their ‘self-employed’ status. The talk will also include a discussion of the ongoing difficulties dancers face when attempting to seek recourse of any kind due to the stigmatised nature of their work.

Laura Shand

Laura Shand’s research considers current labour market precarity- the prevalence and increasing use of non-standard or casualised contracts (fixed term, zero hours, etc.)-  within UK Higher Education and how this intersects with gendered experience in academia. As well as considering whether the Early Career Academic today is a modern ‘portfolio worker’ or is in fact subject to ‘flexploitation’, the research also considers both the commonalities and variations in how different genders experience the work place. For example, is precarity exacerbating gendered bias in the competitive search for more stable academic work- a process detrimental to female academics- or does it in fact foster a form of solidarity and understanding between Early Career colleagues in a period of great uncertainty for HE? Cathexis and men’s emotional attachment to work is also another facet that is explored in this work. The research itself is being conducted through combined qualitative methodologies, firstly a combination of 20 in-depth interviews with current ECAs and 5 with senior academics reflecting upon their ECA experience and secondly ‘online focus group’ message board to allow ECAs to discuss, compare and reflect upon their collective experience. Laura is currently undertaking field work and analysis at this point in time.

Yvonne Ehrstein

Yvonne’s PhD project explores lived experiences and constructions of maternal femininities in online environments. By analysing the British parenting website both as a representation of contemporary parenting culture and as the largest UK parenting community, her research investigates cultural constructions of work-family reconciliations and how these are navigated on a subjective level.

From self-care to collective care?

From self care to collective care? A Gender and Sexuality Research Forum event supported by the Sociology Department

In these difficult times when so many people are given overpressured workloads we are frequently encouraged to look after ourselves and practice acts of ‘self-care’. Yet to what extent is this primarily an individualistic response? How might we practice forms of collective care instead? In this seminar members of two different collectives discuss how they envisage and practice collective forms of care, what that involves, and what it’s like working together.

The Res-Sisters are a feminist collective of early career academics. The group’s collective interests include challenging inequality both within and outside of academia, resisting the neoliberal agenda and making space for alternative voices to be heard.

The Micropolitics Research Group is interested in hierarchies in social organisation and the relationships between everyday and mundane encounters and wider social and political phenomena. They’ll be talking about authorship in academia and the art field, and their use of the photoromance.

Lynne Segal is Anniversary Professor of Psychology and Gender Studies at Birkbeck and the author of numerous books including Making Trouble and Radical Happiness (Verso).

Rosalind Gill is Professor of Cultural and Social Analysis at City; her books include Gender and the Media (Polity) Aesthetic Labour (Palgrave) and Gender and Creative Labour (Polity).


When – Wednesday 18th October

Time – 5pm – 7pm

Where – A130 College Building City, University of London, St John Street London EC1V 4PB


Tuesday 20th June 2017

2 pm – 7:30 pm 

Room B200 – University Building, City, University of London 

New and established scholars and activists reflect on old questions and new challenges. Please join us for an afternoon of talks and discussion at City, University of London to be followed by drinks and refreshments.

Speakers include:

Sue Jackson (VUW, New Zealand) talks about her work with girls on feminism

Roisin Ryan Flood (Essex) reports on her interviews about internet dating

Josie Reade (RMIT, Australia) opens up new ways of thinking about ‘fitspo’

Maree Martinussen (Auckland, New Zealand) explores practices of intimacy in female friendships.

Anastasia Powell (RMIT, Australia) talks about her new book Sexual Violence in a Digital Age

Laura Thompson (City, London) explores sexual harassment on mobile dating apps

Celiya Koster (activist/student, London) discusses co-founding a new intersectional feminist magazine, Typical Girls

We are delighted to announce that the symposium will be followed by two very special keynote presentations by Winnie M Li and Rowan Ellis (6-7.30 PM)

Winnie M Li, author, activist, researcher (LSE) will talk about her extraordinary new novel Dark Chapter, discussing ‘Narrating Lived Experiences of Sexual Violence through Crime Fiction’

Rowan Ellis (‘queer feminist geek’) will discuss her phenomenal campaign to get YouTube to lift their LGBTQ+ restrictions

This event is free and open to all – click here to sign up!

PLEASE NOTE: Because of the nature of the issues being discussed, some people may find parts of this symposium distressing.

Questions of beauty and visual appearing have long been central to feminist debate across a wide range of disciplines from art history to sociology and from psychology to media and cultural studies. The topic has aroused strong feelings and debates about beauty have been almost as fraught as those about pornography.

In the third of a series of events on neoliberalism, the Centre for Culture and Creative Industries and the Gender and Sexualities Research Forum at City, University of London, turn their attention to the politics of beauty in neoliberal times. How is beauty politics being remade by neoliberalism, with its languages of choice and personal responsibility? What are the impacts of intersectional and transnational perspectives on how we think about the politics of appearance? How do new notions of ‘glamour labour’ or ‘aesthetic entrepreneurship’ reframe debates about beauty?

Join us to discuss these and other issues at a Roundtable symposium with

Sarah Banet-Weiser,

Simidele Dosekun,

Sarah Riley,

Catherine Rottenberg

Shirley Tate.

The event is chaired by Jo Littler, and will be followed by a book launch and reception to mark the publication of Aesthetic Labour: Rethinking Beauty Politics in Neoliberalism edited by Ana Elias, Rosalind Gill and Christina Scharff, Palgrave 2017.

The event is free but booking is essential. Sign up here


When: 16th February – 4-6pm (followed by drinks reception)


College Building

Room A130,

City, University of London.



Upcoming event:
Centre for Culture and the Creative Industries presents:
The film screening of ‘She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry’ followed by Q&A and drinks reception
As part of the 40th anniversary celebrations of the Centre for Culture and the Creative Industries at City, University of London, please join us for a screening of the critically-acclaimed film, ‘She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry’, followed by a Q&A discussion on feminist activism past and present with our intergenerational panel.
She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry resurrects the buried history of the outrageous, often brilliant women who founded the modern women’s movement from 1966 to 1971.  She’s Beautiful takes us from the founding of NOW, with ladies in hats and gloves, to the emergence of more radical factions of women’s liberation; from intellectuals like Kate Millett to the street theatrics of W.I.T.C.H. (Women’s International Conspiracy from Hell!).  Artfully combining dramatizations, performance and archival imagery, the film recounts the stories of women who fought for their own equality, and in the process created a world-wide revolution.
Followed Q&A with our intergenerational panel:
Sue O’Sullivan has been a member of the London Women’s Liberation Workshop, Spare Rib magazine collective, Feminist Review Collective, Red Rag and Sheba Feminist Press. She was interviewed by the British Library about her involvement in second wave feminism.

Jessica Ringrose is Professor, UCL Institute of Education, and Chair of the Gender and Education Association. Her books include Post-Feminist Education?: Girls and the sexual politics of schooling (Routledge, 2013) and Children, Sexuality, and Sexualisation (Palgrave, 2015).

Rosa Tully is Founder of Highgate Wood Feminist Group, Plan International Youth Advisor and a social justice campaigner
Neil Robertson is Curriculum Leader for Social Sciences at City of London Academy, Islington


Please sign up HERE

We look forward to seeing you there!

Best wishes,

GSRF team.


Feminism and Neoliberalism

On 23rd June 2016, GSRF teamed up with renowned feminist scholars to deliver a unique and timely roundtable event on Feminism and Neoliberalism. We sought to collectively explore some pressing and complex questions facing feminism today such as, ‘what is the relationship between feminism and neoliberalism?’ ‘Is feminism becoming neoliberalized?’ And, ‘how might feminism resist neoliberalism?’ Chaired by Dr Rachel Lara Cohen (City University), the seminar began with insights from Dr Jo Littler (City University) on key moments in the historical relationship between feminism and neoliberalism. Jo discussed how femininities have become increasingly individualised and shaped as entrepreneurial projects of self-management/empowerment (for example, through notions of the ‘Mumpreneur’) and how this is based on post-race/class/feminist neoliberal meritocracy. Inspiringly, the talk ends with an emphasis on the importance of mobilising campaigns and what progressive opportunities there might be at present.

Our second panellist, Dr Kalpana Wilson (LSE) talked about how feminist ideas of empowerment and agency have been transformed and used to facilitate and legitimise the intensification of women’s labour in the Global South. Kalpana brought to light the ways in which the ‘gender equality as smart economics’ approach can in fact extend oppressive gendered and racialized inequalities. Furthermore, she argued that as philanthropic capitalist organisations promote a particular kind of neoliberal, entrepreneurial feminism, this negates the role of the state in social provision.

Next, the conversation shifted to ‘Confidence Cult(ure)’ and how the commodification of character becomes a gendered technology of self. In discussing her recent work with Dr Shani Orgad, Professor Rosalind Gill (City University) explored exhortations of confidence in advertising and the work place. Rosalind argued that as women’s ‘lack of’ confidence/self-esteem is framed as their main, individualised obstacle – something in their own psyche – this ignores important structural inequalities and cultural forces.

Dr Sara Farris (Goldsmiths) discussed the convergence of certain strands of feminism with neoliberalism in continental Europe – particularly France, Italy and the Netherlands. In the form of emancipation campaigns, Sara explained how ‘white supremacist feminists’ attempt to teach racialized and migrant women – who are considered to be oppressed/in need of ‘special help’ – to become culturally integrated and therefore emancipated. Moreover, within neoliberal workfare logic, she argued that women and feminist organisations are increasingly encouraging migrant women to participate within (certain areas of) the labour market which has become a civic ‘duty’, with welfare as a ‘privilege’.

Our final speaker Dr Shani Orgad (LSE) provided examples from her current research on the lived experiences of educated professional women who have left paid employment and how their experiences relate to current/limited narratives/imaginaries of feminism. Shani revealed that despite an acute awareness of the structural inequalities that have shaped their life trajectories, her respondents ultimately perceived their decisions/choices to leave their jobs and the consequences of doing so as personal failures. Accordingly, Shani discussed possibilities for alternative versions to neoliberal feminism and for different imagined futures that resist individualisation and expose how it is the system that needs to change, not women.

Bringing the event to a close, the floor was opened up to our audience for questions which allowed for engaging discussions on diverse issues such as intergenerational feminism, neoliberalism in academia, ethical consumption, post-racism and the politics of anger. We would like to sincerely thank all five speakers, our chair and to the audience for helping to create a positive, stimulating and thought-provoking event! If you were unable to attend, not to worry, you can watch a recording here.