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Title: Accounting for 'disclosure' : lesbian parents' identity management in home and school contexts
Author: Nixon, Catherine Ann
ISNI:       0000 0004 2717 0616
Awarding Body: Sheffield Hallam University
Current Institution: Sheffield Hallam University
Date of Award: 2011
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This qualitative research explores working-class (educated) lesbian parents' identity management strategies within home and school contexts. Following an evaluation of epistemological debates and social science approaches to theorizing 'self, I highlight the utility of a feminist social constructionist approach to research, and the centrality of language and discourse in the constitution of lesbian parents' subjectivities. This work is informed by poststructuralist, feminist and psychological theories of identity and subjectivity and I take a 'relational approach' to explore ways in which historically and culturally specific ideologies and discourses of sexuality, family and parenting shape lesbian parents' discursive practices and subjectivities. Seven working-class (educated) lesbian parents from the north-east of England took part in interviews about their lesbian parent families and their interactions with their children, friends, family and school staff to explore how lesbian parents talk about their lesbian parent identity and disclosure/concealment of their sexuality. Specifically, a discursive analytic approach was utilized to explore lesbian parents' accounts for disclosure/concealment of their sexual identity and of their lesbian parenting/families, within home-school contexts. From this investigation I identified a key interpretative repertoire: 'sexuality as a form of knowledge' that the women used to construct homosexuality as normal, dangerous, private and progressive. A key finding from this investigation is the discursive strategy of 'positioning others' within constructions of sexuality. Interactive positioning functioned to rationalize accounts for disclosure or concealment of the women's sexuality at different discursive moments and contexts. I problematize existing essentialist models of 'coming out' and highlight how disclosure/concealment of sexual identity can be theorized as an 'accountable' activity which acknowledges the synthesis of culture and subjectivity at the point of discourse. This work also acknowledges ways in which class subjectivity can shape lesbian parents' discursive practices in their negotiation of 'difference'.
Supervisor: Ellis, Sonja Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available