The private, the public and the pubic : striptease and naked power in Scotland

Vernon, Sarah Caroline (2011) The private, the public and the pubic : striptease and naked power in Scotland. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Scottish strip clubs are a highly under researched area. While there is a plethora of research emanating from North America, strip club research is in its infancy in Scotland. The little research that has been conducted on Scotland’s strip clubs is unrepresentative (Bindel, 2004; AEWG, 2006).

This project is an in depth participant observation based analysis of two Scottish strip clubs. The fieldwork was conducted over a period of seven years, with over 7000 hours of fieldwork based observations. Much like the work of Frank (2002) and Egan (2006) this research was conducted using a dancer-as-researcher role, giving me unrivalled access to a research setting and population that remains off-limits to most researchers.

Drawing on North American based strip club studies, this research compares the interactions, service provision and operations of the Scottish clubs in relation to their North American counterparts. While a useful comparative tool, this research argues that the North American studies are not representative of Scottish strip clubs. North American clubs embody a strong customer service ethos in their service provision and organisational culture (Trautner 2005). The Scottish clubs in this study do not.

There is a significant emphasis in North American studies on the use of counterfeit intimacy (Enck & Preston, 1988) as a standard sales technique used by dancers. This involves feigning intimacy and emotion in interactions with customers to elicit maximum financial gain; the dancer will aim to be ‘anything you want her to be’. There is an assumption in these studies that service provision is dictated by a combination of club management and the customer’s wishes. This research highlighted that it was not the customer or management who determined service provision, but the dancers. Rather than embodying a fervent customer service ethos, Scottish strip clubs are non-customer oriented service providers.

The impact of dancers on service provision and social control in the strip clubs used in this study contradict North American findings. Both clubs in this study embodied pro-dancer policies towards social control.

While strip clubs throughout the world supply a similar service, the dancers in this study thought they were selling their nudity, not creating a fantasy. The sales technique most commonly used by dancers in this study to sell dances is ‘Do you want to see me naked?’ Their approach was in general brash, upfront and (arguably) more honest than the approaches reported in the North American literature.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: adult entertainment, striptease, participant observation, Scotland, AEWG, strip clubs, burlesque, lap dancing, table dancing
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Supervisor's Name: Bourque, Dr. L.N.
Date of Award: 2011
Depositing User: Ms Sarah Caroline Vernon
Unique ID: glathesis:2011-2694
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2011
Last Modified: 26 Feb 2016 09:22

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