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Community Safety, Rights and Recognition: towards a Coordinated Prostitution Strategy?

Maggie O'Neill (2007)

Community Safety Journal. Vol 6. Issue 1. Feb 2007 pp 45-52

This article argues that there are two main barriers preventing imagining and actioning an inclusive, holistic strategy for prostitution reform in the UK. It identifies five key tenets needed to improve the situations for men and women involved in selling sex. Findings from innovative research methods are used to explore how community safety may be improved.


What’s anti-social about sex work? Tracing governance in constructions of sex work as anti-public

Maggie O'Neill (2007)

Community Safety Journal Vol 6. Issue 1. Feb 2007 ISSN 1477-5883


This article considers the deployment of anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs) against female sex workers in light of the UK government's quest for the development of coherent legal and policy frameworks to tackle the problem of on-street sex work. It is concluded that ASBOs should not be issued against sex workers, particularly given their potential to impact negatively on social/welfare work.


Making Connections: Ethno-mimesis, Migration and Diaspora

Maggie O'Neill (2009)

Journal of Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society Vol. 14, 3, 289–302


Participatory Methods and Critical Models: arts, migration and Diaspora’

Maggie O'Neill (2011)

Crossings:Migration and Culture on ‘The Arts of Migration’

This article reflects on a ten-year trajectory of research, predominantly in the East Midlands, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The projects all employed participatory action research methods that involved working in partnership with forced migrants (those situated in the asylum–migration nexus) and community arts organizations to explore the connections between arts, migration and diaspora. The article considers the benefits and issues surrounding this kind of creative, participatory and arts-based work in relation to the transformative potential of art, narrativity and storytelling, and the processes and senses of belonging and place-making experienced by the participants. Key themes raised by the research include the tension between human rights, dignity and humiliation; the role of nation states in the production of refugees; the wider context of globalization and neo-liberalism; and the possibilities for a radical democratic imaginary in arts-based research with migrants.


Asylum, Exclusion, and the Social Role of Arts and Culture

Maggie O'Neill and Phil Hubbard (2012)

Moving Worlds: A Journal of Transcultural Writings


Borders, risk and belonging: Challenges for arts-based research in understanding the lives of women asylum seekers and migrants at the borders of humanity

O’Neill, M, Erel, U., Kaptani, E. and Reynolds, T. (2007)

Community Safety Journal. Vol 6. Issue 1. Feb 2007 pp 45-52

This article critically discusses the experiences of women who are seeking asylum in the North East of England and women who are mothers with no recourse to public funds living in London to address the questions posed by the special issue. It argues both epistemologically and methodologically for the benefits of undertaking participatory arts-based, ethno-mimetic, performative methods with women and communities to better understand women’s lives, build local capacity in seeking policy change, as well as contribute to theorizing necropolitics through praxis. Drawing upon artistic outcomes of research funded by the Leverhulme Trust on borders, risk and belonging, and collaborative research funded by the ESRC/NCRM using participatory theatre and walking methods, the article addresses the questions posed by the special issue: how is statelessness experienced by women seeking asylum and mothers with no recourse to public funds? To what extent are their lived experiences marked by precarity, social and civil death? What does it mean to be a woman and a mother in these precarious times, ‘at the borders of humanity’? Where are the spaces for resistance and how might we as artists and researchers ‐ across the arts, humanities and social sciences ‐ contribute and activate?


Walking Borders, Risk and Belonging

Maggie O'Neill and Ismail Einashe (2019)

Journal of Public Pedagogies

Walking borders, risk & belonging makes a case for using walking as a biographical interview method (WIBM) in order to do critical public pedagogy—using conjunctural analysis—that engages in unsettling and troubling the white, male privilege and basis of walking, and indeed the ‘turn’ to walking rooted in Eurocentric practices. The authors build upon a long history of: i) using walking, participatory and arts-based methods (ethno-mimesis) to do social research on migration with migrants, and; ii) the importance of creating space for stories of asylum, migration and marginalisation to be shared and heard through critical pedagogy, critical journalism, and walking as an arts-based research method.


Social justice for sex workers as a ‘politics of doing’: Research, policy and practice

Sharron Fitzgerald, Maggie O'Neill, Gillian Wylie (2020)

Irish Journal of Sociology

Undertaking our intervention in Irish feminist prostitution politics as a ‘politics of doing’ social justice through our separate and combined research, we extend our analysis by invoking Nancy Fraser and Barbara Hudson’s theoretical work on social and restorative justice. We wish to develop a theoretical framework that can serve as a roadmap for restorative social justice – the process of achieving rights, recognition and redistribution through relational, reflective and discursive interventions in sex work research, policy and practice. We argue that by ‘thinking’ sex workers’ positionality in social relations differently, the ‘doings’ of restorative social justice for sex workers can begin or take place.


Special Section on Sex Work and Social Justice

Sharron Fitzgerald, Maggie O'Neill, Gillian Wylie (2020)

Irish Journal of Sociology

Advancing social justice for sex workers contributes to this vision of a feminist politics of doing transformative research. Bringing together interdisciplinary perspectives, it offers alternative paradigms and methodologies to advance an agenda for change for sex workers. Developing a politics of doing sex work research requires that we devise our questions differently, develop clearer knowledge and understanding of the definition and constitution of social justice for sex workers and then apply this to rethinking sex workers’ positions in social relations and research conducted with, not simply on or for, them.


Biographical Research On the Move:Theorising, experiencing, imagining (the Chicago School reloaded)

Maggie O'Neill (2019)

Polish Journal of Sociology

This paper explores the importance of walking in biographical methods and critically reflects upon its theoretical, experiential and imaginative application 100 years after the publication of the The Polish Peasant in Europe and America. In doing so I ask how might walking as an ‘arts based’ approach to doing biographical research in collaborative and co-productive ways contribute to the conditions that support human well-being, re-ethicise social research and critically address social pathologies? In answering this question I focus upon the importance of critical theory and biographical sociology in understanding biography and history and propose that the experience of walking with another, conducting a WIBM, opens up the possibility of dialogue, listening as understanding, ‘resonance’, evokes trust and the potential for solidarity, as part of an ethics of listening. However, in doing so we must be mindful of the ethical implications of WIBM. Examples from walking biographical interviews illustrate the discussion.


Methodological Innovation in Research: Participatory Theater with Migrant Families on Conflicts and Transformations ovewr the Politics of belonging

Kaptani, E. Erel, U, O'Neill, M, Reynolds, T. (2020)

Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies

This paper introduces notions of conviviality as both a research practice and a research outcome through an exploration of the racialised and gendered experiences of migrant mothers and young girls in the current hostile environment for migrants in the UK. We argue that innovative, participatory theater and walking methods constitute a convivial practice, particularly helpful for addressing the everyday lives of migrant families within the current racist climate in the UK, characterized by the effects of the hostile environment on migrant families. Furthermore, the innovative participatory arts and action research methods in this project allowed the creation of relations between research participants and with the research team. These methodological and conceptual tools, we argue can strengthen research that challenges and goes beyond current xenophobic and racist conflicts.The innovative methods support research for social transformation, challenging prevalent racist discourses on migrant families, through building creative groups to express and publicly share their lived experiences.


Creative Methodologies for a Mobile Criminology: walking as critical pedagogy

O'Neill, M.Penfold-Mounce, R.Honeywell, D. Coward-Gibbs, M. Crowder, H. and Hill, I. (2020)

Sociological Research Online

We argue for a mobile criminology that attends to space, place, and time to analyse theories and concepts in criminology, as well as to undertake and apply research. In this article we share a biographical walk with David Honeywell, a convict criminologist, and two examples of criminological walks as pedagogic methods. We suggest that through walking (as a teaching, learning, and research method) we are able to get in touch with the past, present, and future of crime, justice, and punishment in ways that foster knowledge and ‘understanding’ in corporeal, relational, and material ways forming a critical, cultural, mobile pedagogy. Walking through the city, engaging with spaces, places, and stories associated with crime, is a way of seeing and feeling the history of crime, justice, and punishment in the present, as well as offering critical and imaginative methods for doing criminology in societies on the move.


Walking in the Boboli Gardens in Florence: Toward a Transdisciplinary, Visual, Cultural, and Constellational Analyses of Medieval Sensibilities in the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili

James O'Neill and Maggie O'Neill (2020)

Qualitative Inquiry

In this article, using the metaphor of the “constellation,” we offer a transdisciplinary methodology to complicate Euro-western renaissance humanism, in our exploration of the gendered, temporal, spatial, and cultural aspects of renaissance Florence, through a walk in the “Boboli gardens” in the footsteps of Poliphilo. Walking helps us to form a sense of our past, present, and future, and in walking, we gain ground in the “art of paying attention” (Ingold). In our walk, key emerging themes are the gardens as a metaphor for visual culture; the phenomenological, temporal, and spatial transgression of gender norms and their demarcated thresholds; gardens as stimulating cognition and the sensorial; and the developing art of garden aesthetics and the architectonic.


Critical Theory in Practice: Walking, Art and narrative as conjunctural analysis

Maggie O'Neill and John Perivolaris (2020)

The Large Glass, Museum of Contemporary Art Skopje, Macedonia. No 29/30


Virtual Roundtable on Mapping Gendered Violence

Raminder Kaur, Maggie O'Neill, Nicola Henry, Krista Benson, Anastasia Christou and Cindy Cruz (2018)

Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies Vol. 39, No. 2, Mapping Gendered Violence (2018), pp. 233-264

“No one engaged in thought about history and politics can remain unaware of the enormous role violence has always played in human affairs..” Hannah Arendt.


Could walking offer a path to more ethical migration research?

Maggie O'Neill (2018)

Open Democracy


Women’s Lives, Well-Being, and Community Arts-Based Biographical Methods

O’Neill, M. Haaken, J. and Mansaray, S. (2017)

International Review of Qualitative Research


Walking with Faye from a direct access hostel to her special place in the city: walking, body and image space. A visual essay

Maggie O'Neill & Catrina McHugh (2017)

Journal of Social Work Practice Psychotherapeutic Approaches in Health, Welfare and the Community.  Vol. 31:2, pp.207-223

This publication emerged from my Leverhulme Research Fellowship:


A Sense of Belonging: walking with Thaer through migration, memories and space

O’Neill, M and Perivolaris, J. (2015)

Crossings: Journal of Migration & Culture Volume 5 Numbers 2 & 3 pp327-338


The Slow University: Work, Time and Well-Being

Maggie O'Neill (2014)

Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 15(3), Art. 14,


Slow Movement/Slow University: Critical Engagements.

O'Neill, Maggie; Martell, Luke; Mendick, Heather & Müller, Ruth (2014)

Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 15(3), Art. 16


Thematic Section on the Slow University in FQS. Slow Movement/Slow University: Critical Engagements. Introduction to the Thematic Section.


Moving images: Psychoanalytically-informed visual methods in documenting the lives of women migrants and asylum-seekers

Haaken, J and O'Neill, M (2014)

Published in Journal of Health Psychology


A Special Edition of the journal Crossings: Migration and Culture on ‘The Arts of Migration’ Volume 2.

Pearce, L. and O’Neill, M (2011)

Intellect Books


Career, Migration and the Life CV: A relational cultural analysis

Schultheiss, D. Watts, J. Sterland, L and O’Neill M. (2011)

Special edition of the Journal of Vocational Behaviour on ‘Career and Migration'


In response to the precarious and disadvantaged position of forced migrants in the United States and the UK, marked by unemployment, under employment and loss of career capital, this paper draws upon a relational cultural paradigm and a life design career model in order to understand migrant work life, shape the career intervention process and examine the implications for vocational practice. An innovative career intervention is introduced and discussed, the life CV, which has been used with refugees and asylum seekers in the UK within the context of relational paradigms that reflect the intertwined nature of people's relational and working lives. The paper argues that by engaging in the activities and meaning making associated with the creation of a life CV, different life perspectives and designs become possible and individuals are enabled to consider new ways of knowing themselves and presenting themselves to potential employers.


Culture, Criminology and Sex Work: Resisting Regulation Through Radical Democracy and Participatory Action Research (PAR)

Maggie O'Neill (2010)

Journal of Law and Society

Taking a feminist cultural criminological analysis to the regulation of sex work in the United Kingdom, this paper argues against the dominant deviancy and the increasingly abolitionist criminal justice model for regulating sex work. The paper begins by offering a critique of the dominant regulatory regimes which have operated since the Victorian era, amended in part in the 1950s with Wolfenden, and currently being reinscribed with the Home Office strategy on prostitution and various pieces of legislation. The focus is specifically upon research with female sex workers and the usefulness of using Participatory Action research methodologies (PAR) with sex workers, agencies, and policy makers in order to foreground the diverse voices and experiences of sex workers, challenge the current focus on abolitionist criminal justice regimes and outcomes, and offer an alternative framework for a cultural materialist analysis of sex work, drawing upon the work of Nancy Frase.


Living with the Other: Street sex work, contingent communities

O’Neill, M. Campbell, R, Hubbard, P. Pitcher, J. and Scoular, J. (2008)

Crime, Media and Culture 4, 1, pp 73-93.

There is substantial literature on how fears of Other populations are prompting the increased surveillance and regulation of public spaces at the heart of Western cities. Yet, in contrast to the consumer-oriented spaces of the city centre, there has been relatively little attention devoted to the quality of the street spaces in residential neighbourhoods beyond the central city. In this article, we explore how media representations of sex workers as an abject and criminalized Other inform the reactions of residents to street sex work in such communities. Drawing on our work in a number of British cities we highlight the different degrees of tolerance which residents express towards street sex work. In light of the Home Office strategy document, A Coordinated Prostitution Strategy, this article concludes by advocating participatory action research and community conferencing as a means of resolving conflicts and assuaging fears of difference.


Transnational Refugees: The Transformative Role of Art?

Maggie O'Neill (2008)

Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 9(2), Art. 59,

This paper focuses upon the transfor­m­ative role of art and the methodological approach of working with artists to conduct ethnographic research with refugees and asylum seekers. In exploring the space or hyphen between ethnog­raphy (sociology) and arts based practice (photos, in­stallations, textual practice) I suggest that the combination of biography/narrative (ethnography) and art (mimesis) becomes a "potential space" for transformative possibilities. More specifically, draw­ing upon Walter BENJAMIN's (1992) The Story­teller I will discuss the methodological contribution of combining biography/narrative with art forms (ethno-mimesis) in creating a "potential space", a reflective/safe space for dialogue and narratives to emerge around the themes of transnational identities, home and belonging. The importance of renewing methodologies for the work we do within the area of forced migration, humiliation, "egaliza­tion" and human rights (LINDNER, 2006), the role of the arts in processes of social inclusion, and the vital importance for creating spaces for dialogue and performative praxis through participatory methodologies are also discussed.


Regulating Prostitution: Social Inclusion, Responsibilization and the Politics of Prostitution Reform

Jane Scoular and Maggie O'Neill (2007)

British Journal of Criminology 47 (5) pp.764-778.

Following Matthews' (2005) recent examination of prostitution's changing regulatory framework, we offer a critical account of the move from ‘enforcement’ (punishment) to ‘multi-agency’ (regulatory) responses as, in part, a consequence of new forms of governance. We focus on the increasing salience of exiting—a move favoured by Matthews as signalling a renewed welfare approach, but one which, when viewed in the wider context of ‘progressive governance’, offers insight into New Labour's attempt to increase social control under the rhetoric of inclusion, through techniques of risk and responsibilization. By exploring the moral and political components of these techniques, we demonstrate how they operate to privilege and exclude certain forms of citizenship, augmenting the on-going hegemonic moral and political regulation of sex workers.


Theorising narratives of exile and belonging : the importance of Biography and Ethno-mimesis in ‘understanding’ asylum

O'Neill, M and Harindranath, H (2006)

Qualitative Sociology Review

The article explores the use and importance of taking a biographical approach to conducting participatory action research (PAR) with asylum seekers and refugees in order to: better understand lived experiences of exile and belonging; contribute to the important field of Biographical Sociology; provide a safe space for stories to be told; and in turn for these stories to feed in to policy and praxis.


New Arrivals: Participatory Action Research, Imagined Communities and Social Justice

O’Neill, M, Woods, P and Webster, M (2005)

Journal of Social Justice, Vol.32 No 1 pp75-89

This article explores themes of social justice in relation to global refugeesand the asylum-migration nexus by drawing upon a participatory action research (PAR) project recently completed in the United Kingdom (U.K.). The research sought to explore and address the needs of newly arrived children and families to the education system in a city in England. In the article, we affirm that a holistic conception of justice is of crucial importance to understanding and promoting social integration within the complex dynamics of the asylum-migration nexus as they affect urban environments. Moreover, we suggest that PAR as a research methodology can address a more holistic model of social justice and avoid some of the potential inequalities in the researcher/participant relationship. Patterns of problematic and positive aspects of the experience of newly arrived families are analyzed in terms of three interlinking models of social justice.


Editors Introduction: Global Refugees, Exile, Displacement and Belonging

Maggie O'Neill and Tony Spybey (2003)

Special edition of Sociology ‘Global Refugees: towards a sociology of exile, displacement and belonging’ Sociology Vol 37, pp 7-12.


Renewed Methodologies for social research: ethno-mimesis as performative praxis

O'Neill, M, Sara Giddens, Patricia Breatnach, Carl Bagley, Darren Bourne and Tony Judge. (2002)

Sociological Review Vol 50 No 1, pp 69-88.

This paper focuses upon renewed methodologies for social research in order to explore and re-present the complexity of lived relations in contemporary society. Renewed methodologies can transgress conventional or traditional ways of analysing and representing research data. This paper combines socio-cultural theory; experience (life stories); and practice (exhibition/performance) defined as ethno-mimesis to explore and better understand key themes and issues evolving from ethnographic work with female prostitutes. By focusing upon life history work with women working as prostitutes and by experiencing women's stories represented through live art we can further our understanding of the complexity of sex, sexualities, desire, violence, masculinities and the relevance of the body – the gendered body, the imaginary body, the performative body, the social body – within the context of post modern times, de-traditionalization, and what Stejpan Meštrović calls ‘postemotionalism’ and compassion fatigue. The paper incorporates stills from a video/live art performance, Not all the time … but mostly … performed by Patricia Breatnach, choreographed by Sara Giddens, sound by Darren Bourne and video produced by Tony Judge. The video/live art performance is a response to transcripts of interviews with women working as prostitutes and fuses dance, text, sound and video.


Not all the time...but mostly...: renewed methodologies for cultural analysis'

Maggie O'Neill & Sara Giddens (2001)

Sex Work Re-assessed’ for Feminist Review, No 67, pp.109-110.

Not all the time … but mostly … is the outcome of collaboration across the genres of ethnographic research, and visual and performing arts. In exploring renewed methodologies for social research Maggie sought to develop a methodological model (ethno-mimesis) rooted in feminist thought and practice, that represented in visual artistic forms the multiple standpoints of women working in prostitution. Ethno-mimesis is a combination of ethnographic research and the representation of this work in visual/artistic form.

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