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Title: Women-only space
Author: Power, Collette
ISNI:       0000 0001 3498 1490
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2008
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The primary aim of this research is to explore why women create and utilise women-only space. This thesis explores this question from the perspectives of the women who occupy these environments. It examines the experiences of women from four different spaces located in the United Kingdom. For the purposes of this thesis, women-only space is defined as space created, occupied and maintained by women for women. I argue that though the subject of women-only space is an under-researched subject area many different kinds of women continue to use and benefit from these spaces in a variety of ways. This contradiction provides one of the motivations for conducting empirical research which seeks to address deficits in knowledge and theorisation relating to the subject. Participants locate their discussion of women-only space in relation to lesbian separatism and confirm the continued relevance of particular aspects of this ideology and practice. Participants concur with a number of lesbian separatist writers (Hoagland 1988 and Penelope and Dixon 1988) that separation is valuable to some women and offers a degree of safety and opportunities for empowerment. This thesis also explores aspects of postmodern, postfeminist and Queer theorisations and some of the implications they have for the concept of gender separation and separatism. Considering some of the socio-political and cultural changes which have impacted on women's status since lesbian separatism was conceived, this work considers claims that there is a need to look again at the subject of separatism in order to revise our understandings and expectations of this practice. Illustrating the points at which women's experiences and perceptions diverge from lesbian separatism, this work also goes on to consider alternative models of separation including Dixon's (1988) model of 'graduated separatism'. While continuing to affirm the fundamental value of gender separation, this model I propose, if developed has the potential to provide a more flexible and inclusive form of separatism.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available