How sexual commerce has adapted to the digital age

Posted by ap507 at Oct 11, 2016 03:27 PM |
University of Leicester free public seminar series taking place throughout 2016/17

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 11 October 2016

An exploration of how commercial sex in the Western world is mediated or performed through the internet and digital technologies forms part of a series of University of Leicester free seminars available for the public to attend through 2016/17.

The seminars, led by researchers from a number of institutions, offer a glimpse into a range of topical research areas, including research into Internet Based Sex Workers and the cultural impact of viral mobile app Pokémon Go.

Dr Melanie Kennedy, Lecturer in Media and Communication at the University of Leicester School of Media, Communication and Sociology, who is organising the MediaCom Seminar Series, said: “The MediaCom Seminar Series will get us thinking about the role that the media play in our everyday lives, and the effects that the rapidly-transforming media landscape has on big issues in society and culture. The speakers will encourage us to consider how we might study different media forms and the questions we should be asking, and importantly the series will put on display the variety and breadth of research that is carried out in the field of media and communication.”

The seminars taking place throughout 2016/17 include:

19 October

Professor Teela Sanders (University of Leicester)

Webcams, Fantasy Chat and Escorting: Sexual Commerce in the Digital Age

9 November

Dr Heather Ford (University of Leeds)

‘Anyone can edit.’ Not everyone does. Wikipedia and the gender gap.

7 December *2:00-3:30pm*

Professor David Chandler (University of Westminster)

After the Digital? Risk, Hidden Vulnerability and the Rise of Problem-Oriented Ontology

8 February

Dr Tom Phillips (University of East Anglia)

The Geeks Come Out at Night: Understanding the Impact of Pokemon Go

8 March

Professor Jo Tacchi (Loughborough University London)

Title TBC

10 May

Professor John Goodwin (University of Leicester)

Searching for Pearls: Reflections on Researching the Life and Work of Pearl Jephcott

7 June


Unless stated otherwise the seminars take place between 4:00-5:30pm on Wednesdays in Bankfield House Seminar Room.

The seminars are free to attend and open to the public.

Further information about the Seminar Series is available here:


Notes to editors:

For more information about the MediaCom Seminar Series contact Dr Melanie Kennedy on

Further information about Professor Teela Sanders’s seminar on ‘Webcams, Fantasy Chat and Escorting: Sexual Commerce in the Digital Age’ on Wednesday 19 October:

The majority of commercial sex in the Western world is either mediated or performed through the Internet and digital technologies. This paper is an exploratory discussion of the nature and characteristics of this shift, pulling out some of the broader questions around how sexual commerce has adapted and responded to the digital age. Exploring concepts such as ‘digital labour’ with empirical findings from a Wellcome Trust project with Internet Based Sex Workers, this paper will set the scene for where sociological inquiry needs to focus its attentions. Finally, the paper will flesh out a current ESRC project in situ Beyond the Gaze: Working Practice, Safety and Regulation on Internet base Sex work ( which examines the new and emerging markets where ‘work’ is defined across the digital and real time divide.

Professor Teela Sanders can be contacted via


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