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Julia O'Connell Davidson

Professor of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences

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Biography

Julia O'Connell Davidson has been Professor of Sociology at the University of Nottingham since September 2001. She studied Sociology with Psychology as an undergraduate at the University of Bath (1982-86) and for her PhD in the Department of Sociology at the University of Bristol (1987-90).

Julia has a longstanding research interest in work and economic life that started from a concern with the variability of capitalist employment relations which she explored in her 1993 book, Privatization and Employment Relations: The Case of the Water Industry (Cassell) and a number of journal articles and book chapters on the restructuring of work and employment in privatised utilities and the use of franchising in milk distribution. In the mid 1990s, she started to research prostitution as a form of non-standard work and to address questions about what, precisely, is exchanged in the prostitution contract and the diversity of prostitution in terms of its social organisation and the power relations it involves (both globally and nationally). She conducted ethnographic and interview work with sex workers and their clients in the UK, and then a series of studies of the tourism-related sex trade in developing countries, including Thailand, Cuba, Costa Rica, Venezuela, India, and South Africa. This work, as well as later ESRC funded research in the Dominican Republic and Jamaica, and research in Russia and China commissioned by Save the Children Sweden, allowed her to engage critically with feminist debates on prostitution (Prostitution, Power and Freedom, 1998, Polity) as well as to explore theoretical and policy debates surrounding child prostitution (Children in the Global Sex Trade, 2005, Polity).

In 2001, she and Bridget Anderson (COMPAS, University of Oxford) were commissioned by the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to conduct multi-country pilot research on 'the demand side of trafficking'. They were asked to focus on two sectors - prostitution and domestic work - and they subsequently developed this research through an ESRC funded project examining the markets for migrant sex and domestic workers in the UK and Spain. This research has informed a number of publications that explore that definitional problems associated with the term 'trafficking', critique dominant discourse on 'trafficking as modern slavery' and challenge the framing of 'trafficking' as a problem of transnational crime as opposed to a migrants' rights issue. Julia has also been involved in research on child migration, child 'trafficking' and child rights.

This research has had significant impact, informing debate on 'trafficking' amongst international agencies and NGOs, and empowering them to campaign and lobby for anti-trafficking measures that respect and promote the rights of migrants, sex workers, and children. It has redefined the focus of international policy onto the 'demand side of trafficking' away from a narrow concern with prostitution and towards all contexts in which migrants are vulnerable to exploitation. It has impacted on prostitution policy in the UK; and has also encouraged children's NGOs to adopt new approaches to child migration and 'trafficking'.

At a theoretical level, Julia has been concerned to link her research on prostitution, sex tourism, and 'trafficking' to critiques of dominant liberal fictions about contract, freedom, citizenship and human rights, as well as to questions of power, especially the question of how we can critique those theoretical traditions that approach power as domination without slipping into the relativism and subjectivism of much post-modern and post-structuralist theory.

Julia currently holds a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship for a project titled 'Modern slavery and the margins of freedom: Debtors, detainees and children'. (http://www.leverhulme.ac.uk/news/news_item.cfm/newsid/27/newsid/217) Several of her publications are available on line:

Children in the sex trade in China, Stockholm: Save the Children Sweden, 2001, available at http://shop.rb.se/Product/Product.aspx?ItemId=2967801

Is Trafficking in Human Beings Demand Driven? A Multi-Country Pilot Study. IOM Migration Research Series, No. 15. Geneva: IOM,with B. Anderson, 2003, available at http://www.iom.int/DOCUMENTS/PUBLICATION/EN/mrs_15_2003.pdf

'Men, middlemen and migrants: the demand side of sex trafficking', Eurozine, 2006, available at http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2006-07-27-davidson-en.html

Child Migration and the Construction of Vulnerability. Stockholm: Save the Children Sweden, with C. Farrow, 2007, available at http://shop.rb.se/Product/Product.aspx?ItemId=2967801

'Trafficking, modern slavery and the human security agenda', Human Security Journal, Vol 6, Spring 2008, available at http://www.peacecenter.sciences-po.fr/journal/issue6pdf/HSJ6_Guest_editorial.pdf

Julia has supervised doctoral research on a wide range of topics, including migrant workers in a number of sectors; 'trafficking'; race and sexuality; and tourism, gender and the commercial sex sector. She is keen to supervise doctoral research in any of the following areas: forced labour and slavery in the contemporary world; migration and work; childhood (especially in relation to work, sexuality and/or migration); any aspect of the commercial sex industry; contested commodities (e.g., sex, body tissues, children, etc.)

Expertise Summary

Trafficking, modern slavery, human rights, childhood, prostitution, sex tourism

Research Summary

Julia O'Connell Davidson's current research on Modern Slavery and the Margins of Freedom pulls together threads that have run through her work on employment relations, privatization, prostitution,… read more

Recent Publications

  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J., 2013. Troubling freedom: migration, debt, and modern slavery Migration Studies. 1(2), 176-195
  • JULIA O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, 2013. Telling tales: Child migration and child trafficking Child Abuse and Neglect. 37(12), 1069-1079
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J., 2012. Illegal Trade, Children. In: HELMUT K. ANHEIER, MARK JUERGENSMEYER, AND VICTOR FAESSEL, ed., Encyclopedia of Global Studies Sage. 868-71
  • JULIA O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, 2012. Child Migration, Child Rights and Child Trafficking Migration Citizenship Education. Available at: <http://migrationeducation.de/44.1.html?&rid=216&cHash=7808e911ca5245e39aba175a9fbab022>

Current Research

Julia O'Connell Davidson's current research on Modern Slavery and the Margins of Freedom pulls together threads that have run through her work on employment relations, privatization, prostitution, childhood, and trafficking, and her longstanding interest in Marxist and feminist critiques of dominant liberal fictions about contract, freedom, rights, and personhood, and how these critiques do (and do not) speak to one another. It begins from the observation that lack of freedom is not, on its own, properly regarded as a criterion of 'modern slavery' any more than lack of freedom has historically been regarded in this light, and sets out to examine gendered, classed, raced, and aged dimensions of what is today popularly regarded as 'slavery'. It will then move to three conceptual case studies of groups whose freedoms are often restrained in socially sanctioned ways - debtors, detainees, and children.

The objective is to explore 'freedom' as a relative concept, and 'slavery' as an evocative one. By selecting groups that, in some senses appear to be unlikely candidates for the title 'modern slaves', and examining parallels between their experience and that of groups given prominence by modern abolitionists, the research will shed light on processual and temporal aspects of what is defined as 'modern slavery', as well as the moral and political dimensions of the term. In so doing, the project seeks to initiate fresh and theoretically rigorous academic debate on 'modern slavery'.

Join her Critical Modern Slavery Studies Facebook Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/CriticalMSS/

  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J., 2013. Troubling freedom: migration, debt, and modern slavery Migration Studies. 1(2), 176-195
  • JULIA O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, 2013. Telling tales: Child migration and child trafficking Child Abuse and Neglect. 37(12), 1069-1079
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J., 2012. Illegal Trade, Children. In: HELMUT K. ANHEIER, MARK JUERGENSMEYER, AND VICTOR FAESSEL, ed., Encyclopedia of Global Studies Sage. 868-71
  • JULIA O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, 2012. Child Migration, Child Rights and Child Trafficking Migration Citizenship Education. Available at: <http://migrationeducation.de/44.1.html?&rid=216&cHash=7808e911ca5245e39aba175a9fbab022>
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J., 2011. Moving children? Child trafficking, child migration, and child rights Critical Social Policy. 31(3), 454-477
  • SANCHEZ TAYLOR, J. and O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J., 2010. Unknowable secrets and golden silence: reflexivity and research on sex tourism. In: R. RYAN-FLOOD and R. GILL, eds., Secrecy and Silence in the Research Process: feminist reflections London: Routledge. 42-53
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J., 2010. New slavery, old binaries: human trafficking and the borders of ‘freedom’ Global Networks: a Journal of Transnational Affairs. 10(2), 244–261
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J., 2009. Eine Frage der Einwilligung - Sexsklaverei und Sexarbeit in Grossbritannien. In: KAVEMANN, B. and RABE, H., eds., Das Prostitutionsgesetz Verlag: Barbara Budrich. 47-66
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J., 2008. If no means no, does yes mean yes? Consenting to research intimacies History of the Human Sciences. 21(4), 49-67
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J., 2008. Trafficking, modern slavery and the human security agenda Human Security Journal. 6, 8-15
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J. and FARROW, C., 2007. Child Migration and the Construction of Vulnerability Save the Children Sweden. (978-91-7321-246-5)
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J., 2006. Will the real sex slave please stand up? Feminist Review. 83, 4-22
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J., 2006. Sexual Tourism: Interview with Julia O'Connell Davidson. In: SEIDMAN, S and FISCHER, N. AND MEEKS, C., eds., Introducing the New Sexuality Studies: Original Essays and Interviews New York: Routledge. 224-231
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J., 2006. The Demand Side of ‘Trafficking’? Prostitution and Beyond In: OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting. (In Press.)
  • ANDERSON, B. AND O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J., 2006. The trouble with trafficking. In: VAN DEN ANKER, C. AND DOOMERNIK, J., ed., Trafficking and Women’s Rights Palgrave.
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J., 2006. Manner, mittler, migranten: marktgesetze des ‘menschenhandels’ Osteuropa. 56(6), 7-20
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J., 2005. Children in the global sex trade Cambridge: Polity.
  • O'CONNELL-DAVIDSON,J.N. and SANCHEZ-TAYLOR,J., 2005. Travel and Taboo: Heterosexual sex tourism to the Caribbean. In: Regulating Sex: the politics of intimacy and identity Routledge, London and New York. 83-100
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N., 2005. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Program on Human Rights and Justice and BBC World Service Trust Symposium on Forced Labour in the Global Economy In: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Program on Human Rights and Justice and BBC World Service Trust Symposium on Forced Labour in the Global Economy.
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N., 2005. Capita Learning & Development Conference on Tackling the Trafficking of Women and Children In: Capita Learning & Development Conference on Tackling the Trafficking of Women and Children.
  • O'CONNELL-DAVIDSON,J.N., 2004. Modern-Day Folk Devils and the Problem of Children's Presence in the Global Sex Trade. In: Handbook of Social Problems: A comparative international perspective Sage Publications Ltd, London, UK.
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N., 2004. Turismo Sustentavel & Infancia In: World Tourism Organization and Brazilian Ministry of Tourism World Forum on Sustainable Tourism.
  • DAVIDSON, J. O., 2004. `Child Sex Tourism': An Anomalous Form of Movement Journal of Contemporary European Studies. VOL 12(NUMB 1), 31-46
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N., 2004. Sexkoparnas varldsbild. In: FLORIN, O, LUNDQUIST, D and STENSTAM, E. AND VIKLUND, K., eds., Var har mitt liv med Lilja att gora?: En antologi inspirerad av filmen Lilja 4-ever Svenska Filminstitutet, Stockholm. 64-75
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N., 2004. Foro de ONGs de Iberoamerica en al marco de la VI reunion ministerial In: Foro de ONGs de Iberoamerica en al marco de la VI reunion ministerial.
  • ANDERSON, B. AND O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J., 2003. Is Trafficking in Human Beings Demand Driven?: A Multi-Country Pilot Study Geneva: International Organization for Migration. (15)
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N., 2003. The trouble with trafficking In: Launch workshop for the Network for European Women's Rights, Centre for the Study of Global Ethics.
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N., 2003. The demand side of trafficking: problems and issues In: Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Second Preparatory Seminar for the Eleventh OSCE Economic Forum "National and International Economic Impact of Trafficking in Human Beings".
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J., 2002. The rights and wrongs of prostitution Hypatia. 17(2), 84-98
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N., 2002. Gender, sexuality and the demand side of trafficking In: Seminar on Promoting Gender Equality to Combat Trafficking in Women and Children.
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N., 2002. Current debates on slavery, indenture and abusive labour practices in prostitution In: ISOS Conference 2002: 500 Years of Slavery.
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N., 2002. The perilous politics of child prostitution In: Sociology seminar series.
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N., 2002. The demand side of trafficking for prostitution In: 'Why Trafficking in Persons?' Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs Day Seminar.
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N., 2002. Prostitution, Power and Freedom. In: Sexualities and Society Polity Press, Oxford and Cambridge.
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N. and BRACE, L., 2001. Minding the Gap: General and Substantive Theorizing on Power and Exploitation. In: Provoking Feminists University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL, USA.
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N., 2001. Children in the sex trade in China Save the Children Sweden, Stockholm.
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N. and SANCHEZ TAYLOR, J., 2001. Children in the sex trade in the Caribbean Save the Children Sweden, Stockholm.
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N., 2001. The Sex Exploiter In: Second World Congress Against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children.
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N., 2001. Prostitution, Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation In: European Parliament Nordic Left Alliance Conference on Trafficking in Women.
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N., 2001. Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children: Political and theoretical dilemmas In: ESRC Seminar Series, Sexuality: Representations and Lived Experience.
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N., 2001. Eroticising hierarchies: Western demand for sex tourism In: Women's Studies Seminar Series.
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N., 2001. The rights and wrongs of prostitution In: ESRC Seminar Series, Citizenship and Work.
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N., 2001. Symposium on Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children: Towards the Second World Congress In: Symposium on Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children: Towards the Second World Congress.
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N., 2001. Prostitution: Care or a Contract of Mutual Indifference? In: International Conference of Political Economists.
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N., 2001. La Prostituzione: Sesso, Soldi e Potere Dedalo, Bari, Italy..
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N., 2001. The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children In: The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, Save the Children Sweden Conference.
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N., 2000. Sex Tourism and Child Prostitution. In: Tourism and Sex: Culture, Commerce and Coercion Pinter Publishers Ltd, London.
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N., 2000. Minors in the sex trade In: Ministry of Social Affairs and Health Conference.
  • O'CONNELL-DAVIDSON,J.N. and BRACE,L., 2000. Minding the Gap: General and Substantive Theorizing on Power and Exploitation Signs. 25(4), 1045-1051
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N., 2000. Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children In: European Commission STOP 2 Project Conference.
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N., 1999. Trafficking: Breakdown of Borders In: International Abolitionist Federation Conference.
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N. and SANCHEZ TAYLOR, J., 1999. Tales of Two Worlds: Globalisation and Sexual Exploitation. In: The Global Economy, National States and the Regulation of Labour Mansell, London.
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N. and SANCHEZ TAYLOR, J., 1999. Fantasy Islands: Exploring the Demand for Sex Tourism. In: Sun, Sex and Gold: Tourism and Sex Work in the Caribbean Rowman and Littlefield, Inc, Boulder.
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N., 1998. The Working Sex: Caribbean Development, Tourism, Sex and Work In: Centre for Gender and Development Studies, UWI Conference.
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N., 1998. Prostitution, Power and Freedom Polity Press, Oxford and Cambridge.
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N., 1998. First European meeting of the main protagonists in the fight against child sex tourism In: European Commission Conference.
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N., 1997. Does she do Queening? Prostitution and Sovereignty. In: Reclaiming Sovereignty Cassell, London.
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N., 1997. Pretty Woman, Ugly Man: Interpretative Research on Prostitution. In: Illuminating Social Life Pine Forge, Thousand Oaks.
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N., 1997. Proteger les enfants du tourisme sexuel In: Groupe Developpement Conference.
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N., 1996. Prostution and the Contours of Control. In: Sex Cultures MacMillan Publishers Ltd, London.
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N. and SANCHEZ TAYLOR, J., 1996. Child Prostitution: Beyond the Stereotypes. In: Thatcher's Children? Politics, Childhood and Society in the 1980s and 90s Falmer Press Ltd, London.
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N., 1996. Child Sex Tourism: The Need for an Urgent UK Response In: Michael Sieff Foundation Conference.
  • O'CONNELL-DAVIDSON, J. and BRACE, L., 1996. Desperate Debtors and Counterfeit Love: The Hobbesian World of the Sex Tourist LEICESTER UNIVERSITY DISCUSSION PAPERS IN SOCIOLOGY S. ISSUE 3, ALL
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N., 1996. First World Congress Against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children In: First World Congress Against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children.
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J., 1996. Sex tourism in Cuba Race & Class. VOL 38(NUMBER 1), 39-48
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N., 1995. British Sex Tourists in Thailand. In: (Hetero)sexual Politics Taylor & Francis Ltd, London.
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N. and THOMPSON, P., 1995. The Continuation of Discontinuity: Managerial Rhetoric in Turbulent Times Personnel Review. August,
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J., 1995. The Anatomy of `Free Choice' Prostitution Gender, Work and Organization. VOL 2(NUMBER 1), 1
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N. and LAYDER, D., 1994. Methods, Sex and Madness Routledge, London and New York.
  • DAVIDSON, J. O., 1994. What do Franchisors Do? Control and Commercialisation in Milk Distribution Work, Employment & Society. VOL 8(NUMBER 1), 23
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N., 1994. The Sources and Limits of Resistance in a Privatised Utility. In: Resistance and Power in Organizations Routledge, London and New York.
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N., 1994. Metamorphosis? The Restructuring of Management and Labour in Two Privatised Utilities. In: Privatisation and Regulation: A Review of the Issues Longman, London.
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N. and NICHOLS, T., 1993. Privatisation and Economic: An Investigation amongst 'Producers' in Two Privatised Public Utilities in Britain Sociological Review. 41(4 Nov), 707-730
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N., 1993. Privatization and Employment Relations: The Case of the Water Industry Cassell, London.
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N. and NICHOLS, T., 1992. Employee Shareholders in Two Privatised Utilities Industrial Relations Journal. 23(2 Summer), 107-120
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N., 1991. Subcontract, Flexibility and Changing Employment Relations in the Water Industry. In: A Flexible Future? de Gruyter, Walter & Co., Berlin.
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N., 1990. The Road to Functional Flexibility: Restructuring Office Work in a Privatised Utility Sociological Review. 38(4 November), 689-711
  • O'CONNELL DAVIDSON, J.N., 1990. The Commercialisation of Employment Relations: The Case of the Water Industry Work, Employment & Society. 4(6 December), 531-549

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