Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Legitimate love : a discursive and phenomenological exploration of civil partnership
Author: Goodwin, Claire
ISNI:       0000 0004 2699 367X
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2008
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
The Civil Partnership Act (CPA) came into force in the UK on the 5th December 2005, entitling same-sex relationships to formal legal recognition. It is the second piece of legislation (following the Adoption and Children Act, 2002) that begins to redress the legal inequalities between opposite-sex and same-sex couples by giving civilly partnered (CP'd) couples similar civil and financial benefits as married couples. Research into heterosexual relationships indicates that marriage is linked to better mental health than cohabitation, thus some authors have predicted similar links between civil partnership (CP) and mental health. Moreover, previous research into lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) populations shows that discrimination against LGB people within social policy reinforces social exclusion and negatively impacts on the mental wellbeing of LGB people. It is therefore important to research the effect of the recent CPA legislation on LGB people. To my knowledge there are no published studies into this. Consequently the current study is a qualitative exploration of the experiences of individuals that have registered a CP. Five male and four female participants were interviewed individually. Interpretative phenomenological analysis focused on the personal experiences of the participants. Foucauldian discourse analysis then looked at the cultural and political contexts that mediated the participants' experiences of CP. The analysis showed that same-sex couples face many challenges living in a heteronormative society. CP led to a sense of increased social recognition of same-sex relationships and increased feelings of social support. Many participants also felt that CP challenged negative stereotypes regarding the identity of LGB individuals and relationships. However, difficulties were expressed in their attempts to find a coherent sense of their new positioning as in society as a CP'd couple. For example, participants often felt torn between considering themselves 'married' and rejecting marriage as an inappropriate model for same-sex unions. The context of a heteronormative discourse was discussed in relation to this difficulty. The implications for clinicians who work with LGB clients and social policy were discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available