Power, performativities & place : living outside heterosexuality
This thesis explores the concepts of power, performativity and place and how these act to produce non-heterosexual women's everyday lives through practices of 'othering'. The thesis explores three feminist poststructural tenets: that everyday life is saturated in power; that identities and bodies are (re )formed through reiterated performances (performativity); and that place is fluid and (re )produced through performativity and power. These tenets are used to explore 28 non-heterosexual women's accounts of their everyday lives. These accounts were formed using six focus groups, three coupled interviews, 23 individual interviews, 22 diaries and six sets of auto-photography. The thesis contextualises these research methods within discourses of feminist methodologies which understand accounts of research as partial, performative and as formed in spaces of betweeness. The concepts, tenets, methodologies and accounts that make up the thesis are understood as mutually (in)forming and not as discrete entities. The thesis considers participants' experiences of heterosexism and genderism. Particular focus is placed on everyday processes of othering in food consumption spaces; how women live with these processes; women's experiences of being mistaken for men; and the (re )formation of place through fantasies and imaginings. Through these explorations the thesis deconstructs dualisms, dichotomies and binaries, contending that everyday life is fonned across and between these boundaries whilst hegemonic power relations are simultaneously (re)performed to maintain heterosexuality and normative femininities 'in place'. Relations of power and performativities render place (in terms of both sites and processes) fluid, (in)forming non-heterosexual women's bodies, identities and places as 'other' in relation to dominant (heterosexual) codes and norms. Discourses of power do not have to be named in order to be materially experienced and this thesis discusses the everyday use of the term 'it' in lieu of words, such as heterosexism and genderism. Moreover, hegemonic heterosexual and gendered codes and norms are diversely (re )made through relations of power and performativities. The thesis concludes by contending that whilst power relations can be theorised as fluid over time, everyday life is often lived as though power is a fixed structure.