Cirus Rinaldi, PhD, Senior Lecturer of Sociology of Law, Deviance and Social Change, University of Palermo

The sociologist as cruiser: masculinities, self and sexuality in male sex work arenas

The seminar will be based on an ongoing research which explores the ways male sex workers negotiate and redefine their gender and their sexual roles when involved in «non-normative» sexual acts with other men. The research uses a multi-method approach based mainly on a) field notes collected in ethnographic observation of cruising areas, semi-public and public locales in which sexual transactions take place in two southern Mediterranean Italian cities (Naples and Palermo), and b) in depth interviews with sex workers and clients, whose analysis is been combined according to the principles of Grounded theory. Attention is also paid to the application of sociological theories on sexualities (such as Gagnon and Simon’s sexual scripting theory and Green’s sexual field framework). The difficult process of data collecting and of the access to the field of sex working urge the author to position his identity into the field as white gay scholar and to pay attentions to the interplay and intersection of multidimensional identity strategies and structuring forces which revealed not only the pressures from hegemonic masculinity model exiting in the larger society but also, especially within the interlocking of sexual orientation and ethnic features, the stigmatization sex workers suffered from their (immigrants’) ethnic group and within homosexual community. The analysis of data revealed how sexual identities within sex working are as volatile as stigmatized according to the different characteristics of social actors and implies a queer epistemological and methodological investigation which higly re-negotiate (sexual) identity of researchers during the process of data collection and the necessity of redefining the subjects of the research as co-researcher.

Cirus Rinaldi has been awarded a PhD in Sociology at Palermo University. He's currently Aggregate Professor of Sociology of Law, Deviance and Social change, Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Palermo (Italy). His research's topics and intervention areas mainly focus on masculinity and violence, juvenile justice system and prison youth masculinities, prostitution and urban areas, deviance and crime theories, LGBT studies and Queer Theory. He has also supervised national and international research and intervention projects on conflict resolution, anti-gay violence and social inclusion. Among his latest publications: Rinaldi C. with C. Cappotto (2007). Coming out in Italy. (Oxon: Routledge. In: Seidman S., Fischer N., Meeks C. Introducing the new sexuality studies. p. 72-78, Routledge; Rinaldi C. with C. Cappotto (2014). Normalizing violence. Homophobia as masculinity’s test. In: Hermes. p. 31-53, Napoli: Liguori; Rinaldi; C: (2014) some entries (Homophobia; Homosexuality; Intersxuality; Male prostitution; Normalization; Transsexuals; Public sex) in Forsyth C; Copes H. (eds.), Encyclopedia of Social Deviance. vol. 1/2, p. 339-342, Los Angeles: Sage.

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