Conference Agenda

RN23_04b: Sexuality, Abuse and Violence
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
6:00pm - 7:30pm

Session Chair: Chiara Bertone, University of Eastern Piedmont
Location: BS.3.25
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Business School, Third Floor, North Atrium Oxford Road


Beyond the ‘Socialist Way of Life’: Expert Discourse on Sexual Murder and Politics of Respectability in Czechoslovakia after 1968

Lucia Moravanská

Masaryk University, Faculty of Social Studies, Czech republic

Sexually motivated murder represented an extremely dangerous act to Normalization-era Czechoslovakia (1969-1989). At the time, ‘normalcy’ and ‘deviance’ represented new ways of categorizing citizens, the regime was based on social homogeneity, and the negotiation of citizenship belonged within the private sphere of the family (Bren, 2011). Paradoxically, sexual murderer was diagnosed as ‘abnormal’, not a ‘real’ sexual deviant and usually subjected to death penalty. By using critical discourse analysis, this paper shows how experts from the field of criminology, sexology and psychiatry articulated a perpetrator’s high degree of social danger. Indeed, expert knowledge on sexual murder and its punishment were informed by the politics of respectability (Skeggs, 2004). I critically point out that Czechoslovak expertise as well as regime’s ideology operated not only within white (Sokolová, 2008; Čajkovičová, 2017) and conservative gender order (Havelková, 2017; Lišková, 2016, 2018; Vodochodský and Klvačová, 2015), but also class-based framework, although not always explicitly, but by the notion of ‘degraded way of life’. As such politics of respectability were constructed at the time when family became a source of the individual’s normalcy, I show that murderer not only transgressed sexual norms but also class expectations, the root of which experts placed in the offender’s deprived upbringing. By attributing lower-class characteristics to the perpetrator, he was thus symbolically excluded from the ‘socialist way of life’. Furthermore, eliminating sexual murderers via the death penalty served to reinforce normalized notions of sexual behaviour, parenting, and class.

Blurred Lines: Reflections On The Normative Specification Of Sexualized Violence In The Era Of Digital Media

Frederic Vobbe, Katharina Kaergel

SRH University of Applied Sciences, Germany

Intimacy is above all a matter of emotional communication, with others and with the self, in a context of interpersonal equality (Giddens, 1994). Thus, creating intimacy starts with mutual self-disclosure. Exploring some of the qualitative aspects of our ‘journeys to intimacy’, the spread of digital media has profoundly reshaped intimate lives, transforming the ways in which we are involved in intimate relationships and experience love, sexuality and emotions in everyday lives. Digital media contexts trigger (sexual) self-disclosure unbounded from offline-life creating an illusion of intimacy at a distance. So far, very little is known of the ways in which digital media mediate the ways in which intimacy is experienced and lived. We argue that digital media communication results in a transgression of the idea of intimacy and (sexual) norms that operates in the offline-world. This is significant because digital media have become critical spaces in which we re-negotiate ideas and practices of intimacy within a context of supposed anonymity and distance, disguising the divide between consensual and non-consensual actions. The present paper will reflect on different ways in which digital media, intimacy and sexualized violence intersect. In the hope that the idea of intimacy itself will be opened out in the process, we shed light on digital media intermeshing the idea of intimacy with multiple levels of normativity - equally forcing social work, research, justice and society to think about the implications of blurring lines between intimacy, transgression and sexualized violence, especially with regard to the professional help system.

'Paying with the Bedroom' - Sex as Remuneration in Marriages of Convenience with the Purpose of a Residence Permit.

Julia Christine Bzzi

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany

A marriage of convenience, as any other marriage, is similar to a contract between two human beings. The contract might contain (negotiated) conditions regarding the payment, for example a fixed sum or a favorable distribution of tax classifications. But in addition, indirect ways of payment can develop. One of those can be sexual intercourse. Therefore, I am speaking of ‚paying with the bedroom‘. Following the sense of some of my male interview partners, the men profiting by the marriage in terms of residence, pay partly for their permit with sex. The compulsion to regularly engage in intercourse develops due to a very present fear of divorce, justified or not, therefore losing their residence permit because of their wife’s dissatisfaction. So the mere possibility of the partner’s discontent might lead to agreeing to every – even indirect or assumed – claim the partner supposedly expresses. Ergo, sexual intercourse as a semi-voluntary social interaction can offer access to a residence permit.

What is the interpretation of this agreement? It might be an expression for what is at stake for migrants from so called negative third-country nationals such as Moroccans. A strong hint where European migration policy has developed so that migrants engage in – describing this phenomenon in drastic words – sex work. Therefore, we should ask: Is this a version of prostitution which developed out of Europe’s migration policy? Do these male migrants empower themselves by using sexual spaces of action in order to acquire the European migration policy? Is this even an act of emancipation? In my presentation I intend to partly answer those questions by suggesting links between migration, residence permit, power and sexuality.

Party, Public Space and Rape Culture. A Study of “La Manada” Case.

Clara Camps Calvet1, Anna Morero2

1Universidad de Barcelona; 2Universidad de Barcelona

This paper will focus on understanding which elements related to the festive context in the public space are used to explain that sexual violence against women can be understood as a part of the festivity itself. To do so, we will analyze the case of “La manada”, a gang rape case that happened in july of 2016 during the San Fermines, a traditional and centenary festivity held in Pamplona (Spain).

The verdict dictated by the judges caused huge demonstrations of women all over Spain. The mobilizations were to show the disagreement of women with the argumentation of the judicial sentence, which didn’t considered the aggression a rape because, according to them, the victim didn’t resist to the rape.

Thus through a specific and paradigmatic case, nowadays internationally known, we will show how a festive context in a public space can be used to justify sexual violence against women. To do so, we conducted a qualitative field work that included journalistic case tracking, in-depth analysis of the instruction and the accusation writings, as well as the court rulings of the case. In depth interviews with the local feminist movement in Pamplona and experts on sexual violence involved in the case were also conducted.