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Research interests

Samira van Bohemen is a cultural sociologist and assistant professor at the Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences. Her research mainly deals with everyday Identity Politics and distinguishes itself through its serious engagement with pleasure. Since the beginning of her PhD research, Samira has studied the social implications and ramifications of pleasure: how different social groups (come to) experience some activities as pleasurable (or not) and how these experiences are connected to identity. For her PhD thesis ‘The Magic of the Red Hat’ she studied the Red Hat Society, an international leisure organisation of women over fifty who publicly adorn themselves with red hats, purple clothes, boas and flashy jewellery. Her research not only shows that these Red Hatters’ pleasure in conspicuousness rejects ageist and gendered social stereotypes about ‘middle-aged women’, but also – more broadly – that public play can create a relatively safe space for marginalised social groups to negotiate identity. Continuing this interest in pleasure, she currently studies young people and ‘Good Sex’ in a series of projects made possible by a large research grant from the Dutch Fund for Sexuality Research (FWOS), an SOS grant from the Dutch Scientific Association for Sexologists (NVVS), and an EUR Fellowship. These projects look at how young people define and practice good sex in different public spaces (both online and offline), and engage questions of how ethnicity, gender and class become implicated in these practices. Samira’s research is interdisciplinary and uses both qualitative and quantitative methods. Special mention goes to her extensive qualitative data collection in creative contexts, like her fieldwork during a seven-day cruise to Norway as a PhD student, and at parties and festivals as a postdoctoral researcher. In addition to these activities, Samira teaches various courses at the Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Erasmus University College, and the Erasmus Graduate School of Social and Behavioural Sciences and the Humanities, amongst which in the top-rated Research Master in the Sociology of Culture, Media and the Arts. She also used to be editor of the popular journal Sociologie Magazine, and the peer-reviewed journal Sociologie for which she currently serves in the editorial board.


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