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Title: A study of working-class men who desired other men in the North of England, 1895-1957
Author: Smith, Helen
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis is the first detailed academic study of non-metropolitan men who desired other men in England during the period 1895-1957. It places issues of class, masculinity and regionality alongside sexuality in seeking to understand how men experienced their emotional and sexual relationships with each other. It argues that fluid notions of sexuality were rooted in deeply embedded notions of class and region. The thesis examines the six decades from 1895 to 1957 in an attempt to explore patterns of change over a broad period and uses a wide variety of sources such as legal records, newspapers, letters, social surveys and oral histories to achieve this. Amongst northern working men, 'normality' and 'good character' were not necessarily disrupted by same sex desire. As long as a man was a good, reliable worker, many other potential transgressions could be forgiven or overlooked. This type of tolerance of (or ambivalence to) same sex desire was shaken by affluence and the increased visibility of men with a clear sexuality from the 1950s and into the era of decriminalisation. The thesis analyses patterns of work, sex, friendship and sociability throughout the period to understand how these traditions of tolerance and ambivalence were formed and why they eventually came to an end. Although the impact of affluence and decriminalisation had countless positive effects both for working people in general and men who desired other men specifically, the thesis will acknowledge that this impact irrevocably altered a way of life and of understanding the world.
Supervisor: Bingham, Adrian Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available