The GSRF team

Jessica Simpson – PhD Researcher, Department of Sociology at City, University of London

I am currently conducting longitudinal, comparative research with 20 female university students who also work part-time as waitresses, and 20 female university students working as erotic dancers in the UK. The aim of the research is two-fold:

Firstly, given that female students are statistically less likely to find graduate level employment than their male counterparts, I hope to uncover what happens to women specifically in this context, what challenges do they face and how/if at all are they able to find employment once they have finished university? Furthermore, by initially interviewing participants while they are students and re-interviewing the same people one year later, the aim is to analyse how people’s projected futures and lived realities change over time, and how this is experienced.

Secondly, as stripping and sex work more generally are typically analysed in isolation, this implies that sex work is somehow unique/incomparable to other forms of work. As a result, a secondary aim of my research is to compare stripping to waitressing (a form of gendered and sexualised labour) to uncover what is in fact ‘unique’ and/or different about the labour involved in stripping, but also what similarities are shared with ‘mainstream’ work.

Yvonne Ehrstein, PhD researcher at the Centre for Culture and the Creative Industries, Department of Sociology at City, University of London

My 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, my research investigates cultural constructions of work-family reconciliations and how these are navigated on a subjective level.

Interrogating the ways in which mediated images of successfully combined caring and working identities correspond to and conform with the lived realities of site users, my project connects the analysis of I) editorial website content, II) ethnographic-observational data of user interactions in forums and III) personal accounts of users, both on- and offline.

My research interests span (post)feminist theory, cultural representations of femininity and maternity, intersecting gender and class inequalities, feminist research methods and digital and discursive methods.



Laura Thompson, PhD Candidate in the Centre for Law, Justice and Journalism, Department of Sociology at City, University of London.

My research investigates women’s experiences of harassment and sexual violence whilst using dating apps to meet men. The project involves analyses of harassing messages sent over dating apps along with in-depth interviews with young women about their experiences of these issues. The aim of the project is to shed light on the emerging role of digital technologies in date and acquaintance abuse against women.



Laura García-Favaro, PhD  Candidate at the Centre of Culture and Creative Industries, Department of Sociology at City, University of London.

My PhD project –  titled ‘Transnational Technologies of Gender and Mediated Intimacy’ – is concerned with young women’s online consumer magazines, focusing on ten publications based in the UK and in Spain but accessed worldwide. The research examines representations of gender, sex, sexuality and intimate relationships. It also explores the ways this media relates to feminism, as well as the digital era. Informed by a feminist poststructuralist perspective, and in the context of a solidary-critical position, in the thesis I integrate qualitative analyses of: a) magazine editorial content; b) user discussions in the forums; and c) 66 interviews with producers, primarily editors and writers.


Twitter: @LauraGFavaro  


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