Postfeminist heterotopias: negotiating ‘safe’ and 'seedy’ in the British sex shop space

Adrienne Evans, S. Riley, A. Shankar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-229
JournalEuropean Journal of Women's Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010

Bibliographical note

Please note Dr Evans was working at the University of Bath at the time this paper was published. Author's note: This paper in the European Journal of Women’s Studies (Sage Publications, IF 0.579;
Ranked 30 in Women's Studies) contributes mid-level theory building through empirical research by taking up and applying the theoretical framework proposed by the notion of a technology of sexiness. Speaking directly to debates in the field, the paper offers a methodological innovation by developing the notion of ‘heterotopological’ analysis and applying this to the emergence of female-oriented sex shops. The contribution was significant in providing a development of theory beyond the debates in relation to sexualisation through the authors’ example of sex shopping, and provided knowledge by addressing the way women make sense of this shopping as part of their negotiation of urban spaces and city centers. It called for more attention to the material conditions of the high-street and how these conditions are shaped through the intersections of gender, class, sexuality and ethnicity. The work has been cited as one of the few to explore sex shops, ‘despite their obvious commercial presence and success’ (Manderson 2012 p.11). Reviewers of the paper suggested that the notion of a postfeminist heterotopia was a ‘novel contribution to understanding gender and the 'sexualisation of culture' -- and, importantly, women's negotiation of this more overtly sexualised landscape’.


  • Ann Summers
  • heterotopia
  • postfeminism
  • sexualized culture

Cite this