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Screening of 'Normal'

Posted on June 13, 2014 by Administrator

New Foundations

Gender, Culture and Society @UL and Gender ARC are delighted to host a film screening of Prof Nicola Mai’s creative documentary ‘Normal’, which brings the life stories of male, female and transgender migrants working in the sex industry to the screen. Nicola Mai is an Italian ethnographer and filmmaker working as Professor of Sociology and Migration Studies at the Working Lives Research Institute of London Metropolitan University and at LAMES – the Mediterranean Laboratory of Sociology of Aix-Marseille University. His academic writing and films focus on the experiences and perspectives of migrants selling sex and love in the globalized sex industry in order to live their lives. Through experimental ethno-fictions and original research findings Nicola Mai challenges the humanitarian politics of representation of the nexus between migration and sex work in terms of trafficking, while focusing on the ambivalent dynamics of exploitation and self-affirmation that are implicated.

Prof Mai will introduce his film, and there will be a Q&A discussion session after the screening. All welcome!


View Trailer

Date: May 29th 2014

Venue: Charles Parson Theatre

Time: 7pm


The social protection of vulnerable migrant groups has become a strategic border between the West and the Rest of the world. Asylum and fundamental rights are allocated on the basis of well-rehearsed politics of compassion, whose credibility is assessed on the basis of the performance of stereotypical victimhood scripts. Anti-trafficking moral panics and social interventions play a strategic role within the deployment of these neoliberal governmentalities. By criminalising the involvement of young female and male migrants in the sex industry in terms of trafficking and exploitation, they enforce new biographical borders and hierarchies of mobility. By engaging in the global sex industry young migrant men and women challenge these borders and hierarchies because they are able to afford, morally and economically, ‘abroad’ cosmopolitan individualised lifestyles that are ambivalently queer in relation to established sexual/gender roles ‘at home’. This complexity and fluidity is not recognized in public debates and policies on the nexus between migration and the sex industry. Doing so would mean recognising the shared conditions of increased exploitability and fragmentation we all experience in neoliberal times, whether we migrate or not, whether we sell sex or not.

Gender Arc