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Title: Behind the mask : education, employment and the life stories of gay men
Author: Luckman, Beverley
ISNI:       0000 0001 3613 7525
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2008
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In this thesis, I explore the life stories of five gay men. I begin by outlining the socio-political arena into which these men were born, through exploration of the history of the emergence of sexuality as a discrete entity. In so doing, I analyse how western society constructs sexuality, defining heterosexuality as 'normal' and thereby marginalising those not conforming to this construct. Further, I explore how hetero-normativity is reinforced, both through nurturing and within language and how this has impacted on the lives of the gay men involved in my research. The narratives of these white, middle class, educated, gay men are then located within this context. Their lives span seven decades and, in making sense of their stories, I explore the influences that have impacted on their differing life experiences. This study, which has been influenced by biographical researchers such as Erben, Roberts and Denzin, seeks to give voice to these men who have lived part of their lives in silence, on the margins of society. I draw on the work of Roberts, who suggests that life stories create a new literature of experiences from those who do not usually reach the public arena. Details are given of the open ended method of interviews employed, following the models presented by Roberts and Denzin and I explain the reasons for this selection. In addition, I discuss theories concerning the legitimacy of biographical research, in particular the views of Erben, that no life can be studied in isolation and further, that understanding the social context and using the researcher's imagination are both vitally important, alongside the analysis of empirical data. I present some differing views on queer theory in order to inform my analysis. Following this, I present my findings from the interviews, drawing on both queer theory and the emergent common experiences of my participants. Finally, I provide a more nuanced explanation of these common experiences, such as: bullying, secrecy, alienation, coming out and filial relationships.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available