This article reflects on the experience of undertaking a knowledge exchange project with a local government authority to improve services for older lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) adults. It frames this project in terms of local government equality work, existing research and initiatives concerning older LGBT people and the coming of austerity. The project methodology is detailed, including discussion of the generation and measurement of impact. Some critical issues that arose during the project are considered, including suggestions that these may have been related to economic austerity. The article concludes that although knowledge exchange work with older LGBT people faces challenges in such times, future research and initiatives are warranted.
This paper introduces and outlines a methodology that may be unfamiliar to some qualitative researchers: Membership Categorisation Analysis (MCA). The first section of the paper explains the basic principles of MCA and why it is a valid method for exploring the power of categorisations in texts and talk. Additionally, it explains why MCA differs from other forms of qualitative data analysis. The second section begins with a discussion of why researchers might or might not use Computer?Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis (CAQDAS) Software. Subsequently, a detailed description of how MCA was applied to qualitative data using the CAQDAS software package NVivo is outlined. To provide examples, this paper draws on a project that used MCA to analyse the interview accounts of 25 young people who had taken a Gap Year between leaving school and beginning university. The paper concludes that qualitative researchers should consider using MCA and that CAQDAS is a useful tool to aid its application.
This chapter, drawing on empirical research, examines the experiences of giving and receiving care among older lesbian, gay and bisexual (hereafter LGB) adults. Traditionally, researchers and policy makers tended to assume that all older people experienced later life in a similar way. This can be characterised as the ?normal model of ageing?. However, there has been a growing awareness that this is not the case and that individual and social diversity, for example gender, economic status and ethnicity, may result in older people experiencing later life in very different ways. While this awareness is to be welcomed, little attention has been paid to sexual diversity in later life. Although older LGB adults will have much in common with older heterosexual adults, the way in which sexuality is organised in society means that this group may experience later life differently from their heterosexual counterparts.
Existing research documents both the disadvantages faced by older LGB adults, while simultaneously dispelling the myth of a lonely old age due to familial and societal rejection. For example, Robinson (1998) indicates that the health care needs of older LGB adults are framed in accordance with stereotypical representations and understandings of their sexuality, while MetLife (2006) and Kurdeck (2005) suggest that care giving and receiving amongst the older LGB population differs from the general population in relation to both gender and care practices. Research which highlights the care needs and practices amongst older LGB adults is to be welcomed; nevertheless we want to explore some of the difficulties and problems that may arise when the identities of care giver and care receiver are applied to older LGB adults. In order to do this we will be using the concept of heteronormativity, which can help us to think about the relationship between sexuality and society.
Many people consider their sexuality to be a private matter, however we only need to think about the laws, rules, norms and values that surround sexuality in society to realise that, far from being a private matter, sexuality is socially organised and regulated. One way of understanding this is through the concept of heteronormativity, which refers to the organisation of society around the belief that heterosexuality is superior to homosexuality, and the consequent belief that it is only right that society is organised for the benefit of the majority heterosexual population. In this sense h
King A (2016) Troubling Identities? Examining Older Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual People's Membership Categorisation Work and its Significance, In: Peel E, Harding R (eds.), Ageing & Sexualities: Interdisciplinary perspectives Ashgate
My concern in this chapter is to consider the significance of processes of identity categorisation and to trouble taken-for-granted identifications related to sexuality and age that are manifested within the categorisation older LGB person. To do this I will be drawing on data that I collected as part of a local government scoping study. Through a close ?reading? of some of this data drawing on membership categorisation analysis (MCA) I wish to consider the notion that we can ever speak straightforwardly of older LGB people; in essence, I want to query (indeed queery) the figure of the older LGB person. My argument in this chapter is that it is necessary to do this in order to avoid the re-inscription of heteronormative power structures and presumptions through a failure to recognise the complex processes of (dis)identification that occur when people are hailed into existence in such as way i.e. as an aged-sexual subject. To consider: what identity work takes place in such circumstances? What is gained and what is lost? In order to address this problematic in this chapter, I firstly sketch out the figure of the older LGB person who has emerged from research, policy and practice. Secondly, I then draw on a number of theoretical perspectives within the social sciences, which call into question categories of identity, including those of age and sexuality. These perspectives are queer theory, ethnomethodology and conversation analysis. I will explain how each perspective troubles taken-for-granted notions of identity and thirdly after explaining where my data emanates from, I employ these perspectives in a ?reading? of instances in my data where participants were positioned as particular aged and sexualised subjects. Finally, I consider the ramifications of this reading for understandings of the lives of older LGB people, including the implications for policy-makers and practitioners.
King A (2009) 'Mind the Gap': Reassessing Transitions to Adulthood Using Young People's Accounts of Undertaking Short-Term Employment, In: Brooks R (eds.), Transitions from Education to Work: New Perspectives from Europe and Beyond 12 pp. 201-216 Palgrave MacMillan
King A (2014) Knowledge Exchange Action Research: Creating Impact with Social Science Research, In: SAGE Research Methods Cases Sage
This research case study will discuss the process of engaging in knowledge exchange utilising an action research methodology on a project to improve services for older lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in London, UK. It will begin by explaining what is meant by knowledge exchange and impact in social science research. It will then outline what action research is and how it can be related to knowledge exchange. The methodology of the project will then be explained and critically considered. Overall, the aim of this article is to explain why knowledge exchange action research (KEAR) is useful to enable social scientific research findings to have a social impact and to discuss what can be learned in a real-life project, including the sorts of problems that arise and how they can be resolved, and that sometimes provoke new ideas.
King A, Locke L (2015) Applying Conversation Analysis and Membership Categorisation Analysis to Qualitative Data, In: Gilbert N, Stoneman P (eds.), Researching Social Life Sage Publications Ltd
Imagine that you are interested in investigating suicide. You want to find out what people think about suicide, why people commit suicide, what implications it has for their family and friends, how it could have been prevented, what could a study add to current knowledge to ensure that people at risk of committing suicide get the help that they need. If you follow the advice of many of the chapters in this book you will, quite legitimately, generate a methodology for investigating this topic, perhaps using a survey or conducting interviews and then analyse these to draw out themes and inferences. What we want to do in this chapter is to introduce you to a completely different way of doing research that looks very much like mainstream social scientific approaches, but relies on a simple, yet fundamental, shift in thinking about researching social life. In this chapter we will introduce you to that ?shift? ? an ethnomethodological approach to social life ? and then outline two associated methodologies: conversation analysis and membership categorisation analysis, which have their origins in the pioneering work of Harvey Sacks. We will explain what they are and why they are important. However, one of the key things about both of these approaches is their practical application, so in the fourth section of the chapter we will provide a detailed analysis of a piece of data to illustrate the points we have been making. There will also be questions related to these approaches, for you to test your knowledge and some suggestions for possible projects and recommendations for further reading.
King A (2014) Coming Up Short: Working-class Adulthood in an Age of Uncertainty, AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY 120 (2) pp. 598-600 UNIV CHICAGO PRESS
This article seeks to extend work in the growing sociology of adulthood. It considers the debate that young people in the UK and other advanced industrial societies now face challenges to their adulthood; in particular, that they experience problems of social recognition. Using membership categorisation analysis (MCA) the article then illustrates how members of a sample of 23 young people who had taken a gap year, a break in their educational careers taken between leaving school/college and university, use talk about changes in their relationships with their parents during this period of their lives to accomplish an adult identity in their current context. The article considers the ramifications of these findings and the consequences for studying adulthood more generally. © The Author(s) 2012.
This volume brings together internationally renowned and new scholars to consider the changing relationship between contemporary and classical sociology. Arguing that recent historical and theoretical developments make reconsideration timely, it suggests that whilst the classical tradition has a continuing pertinence, it is inevitably subject to ongoing reconfiguration.
Assessing the explanatory value of classical and contemporary forms of sociology, interrogating social theory as both a form of explanation and a mode of practice, and considering the possible consequences for the discipline of questions about its subject matter, Sociological Objects steers a course between assertions about radical epistemological breaks on the one hand, and reverence for the classical tradition on the other. Rather, it emphasizes the value of reworking, reconsidering and reconfiguring sociological thought.
King A, Rettie R (2009) Concluding thoughts: Reconfigurations of social theory, In: Cooper G, King A, Rettie R (eds.), Sociological Objects. Reconfigurations of Social Theory 11 pp. 191-201 Ashgate
This article explores how theories of diversity and intersectionality can improve our understandings of the lives of older lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) adults. In so doing, it argues that theories of diversity help us to understand both the structural constraints and the advantages that may arise from being an older LGB adult. However, these theories are unable to fully account for differences that may exist within this social group. In order to address this omission, we argue that we need to move beyond a focus on diversity per se, to incorporate the multiplicity of identities suggested by intersectionality theory. We conclude by assessing the implications of this debate for policy and research. Throughout the article we draw on existing research as well as our own empirical studies with older LGB adults.
Cronin A, Ward R, Pugh S, King A, Price E (2011) Categories and their consequences: Understanding and supporting the caring relationships of older lesbian, gay and bisexual people, International Social Work 54 (3) pp. 421-435 SAGE
This article advocates incorporating biographical narratives into social work practice involving older lesbian, gay and bisexual service users. Offering a critique of ?sexuality-blind? conditions in current policy and practice, the discussion draws on qualitative data to illustrate the potential benefits of narrative approaches for both practitioners and service users.
King A (2016) Older Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Adults: Identities, Intersections and Institutions, Ashgate
King A (2014) "Queer Categories: Queer(y)ing the identification of ?older lesbian, gay and/or bisexual (LGB) adults? and its implications for organisational research, policy and practice", Gender, Work and Organization Wiley
In recent years there has been a growth in organisational discourse concerning the lives of older lesbian, gay and/or bisexual (LGB) adults, which has started to address the serious omission and invisibility of this group of people in research, policy making, and service provision. Whilst this development is welcomed, it inevitably draws attention to the identification ?older LGB adults? on which it is based. Using insights from Queer Theory, in addition to the sociological perspectives of ethnomethodology and conversation analysis, this article troubles or ?queers? such identifications. It does this, not only theoretically, but empirically, by conducting a membership categorization analysis (MCA) of some data emanating from a small organisational scoping study of older LGB adults. The ramifications of this for organisational research, policy making and practice are considered in the conclusion.
King A, Neal S, Murji K, Watson S, Woodward K (2015) Editors? Report 2015, Sociology 49 (2) pp. 207-211
King A, Santos AC, Crowhurst I (2015) Sexualities Research: Critical Interjections, Diverse Methodologies and Practical Applications, Palgrave MacMillan
It is now over twenty years since queer theory first appeared, challenging academics and activists to question the very foundations of sexualities research. Queer theory provided a critical impetus that disconcerted as much as it enthused. Yet for some it remained an abstract, largely discursive approach that ignored many of the important insights made by earlier generations of sociologists. To what extent has this criticality remained imperative in studies of sexuality? More recently, new forms of materialist analysis have become more prominent. Intersectionality has become a defining feature of much sexuality research over the last ten years. Others still have continued to draw on micro-sociological theories, particularly interactionism, whilst psychoanalytic theories continue to be central for many. What use are these and other theories? Does sexuality research have any defining theoretical characteristics or is its diversity one of its strengths?
Similarly, how is sexuality studied methodologically? What methods are in use? How are we innovating, methodologically, in the study of sexuality? Many sexualities studies within the social sciences have been dominated by qualitative research. Yet, what impact, if any, has the increase in mixed methodologies had on the study of sexuality? Is sexuality research still largely defined by qualitative approaches? To what extent, if any, do we promote participants? engagement with our studies, in line with emancipatory research? And how can our theoretical and methodological choices enable wider dissemination and social impact?
This collection is being proposed as part of the ?Advances in Critical Diversities? series. With its focus on exploring sexualities through diverse theoretical and methodological lenses and with diverse practical applications and concerns the collection speaks to the aim of the series: to provide an exciting new publishing space to critically consider practices, meanings and understandings of "diversity," inequality and identity across time and place. In doing so, the proposed collection draws together an eclectic range of chapters written by key established academics and new and vibrant emerging scholars emanating from institutions in a diverse range of countries, including: the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Poland, Spain and the UK. The book, therefore, has international appeal, and in order to extend this further it includes an afterward by leading North American scholars who will engage
King A, Rettie R (2012) Concluding thoughts: Reconfigurations of social theory, In: Sociological Objects: Reconfigurations of Social Theory pp. 191-201
Westwood S, King A, Almack K, Suen Y-T, Bailey L (2015) Good Practice in Health and Social Care Provision for Older LGBT people, In: Fish J, Karban K (eds.), Social Work and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Health Inequalities: International Perspectives pp. 145-158 Policy Press
This chapter will first locate older LGBT health inequalities in a theoretical context before outlining core areas of good practice for older LGBT people across health and social care contexts. It will then explore specific areas of good practice linked to vignettes, which are composites, drawn from our respective pieces of empirical research.
The concept of social capital is widely used in the social sciences and has, to an extent, been applied to the lives and social networks of older lesbian, gay and bisexual (hereafter LGB) adults. Developing existing research, this paper argues that while not without its problems, the concept of social capital enriches our understanding of these networks, whilst simultaneously deconstructing the negative stereotypes surrounding homosexuality in later life. However, little attention has been paid to the social factors that mediate access and participation in lesbian and gay communities and the implications of this on the quality and experience of later life. Drawing on qualitative research conducted in the United Kingdom, this paper illustrates how biography, gender and socio-economic status are significant mediators in the development and maintenance of social capital by older LGB adults. It concludes with a set of recommendations aimed at improving the social capital of older LGB adults, together with the importance of ?queering? the concept itself.
The relationship between ageing and sexuality is contentious; older people are frequently represented as either being sexually inactive or not having a sexual identity. Aside from the issue of ageism, such a representation also occludes the lives of those who have been defined by their sexuality: people who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual. Until recently, the lives of this group of older people had received little serious study (Cronin 2004, Heaphy 2007). This is despite the finding that they comprise an estimated 1 in 15 of the users of one of the UK?s largest charities for older people (Age Concern 2002). Research has now begun to develop across different regions of the UK (see for example Communities Scotland 2005, Davies, et al. 2006, Heaphy and Yip 2006, Stonewall Cymru and Triangle Wales 2006) demonstrating that despite similarities with older heterosexuals, older lesbian, gay and bisexual adults do have specific needs and issues, some of which will be discussed in this chapter. However, much of this literature represents ?older lesbian, gay and bisexual? as a largely stable, fixed, taken-for-granted identification. This appears to be at odds with other perspectives within the humanities and social sciences that contend that identities are unstable, multiple and produced contextually. In this chapter we consider this tension and its implications for methodology. Overall, we argue that developing and using methodologies to examine how older lesbian, gay and bisexual identities are produced or accomplished is important if we are to continue developing thinking that moves away from essentialism and avoids reinforcing existing heteronormative understandings of older age.
The first section of the chapter begins by discussing the representation of older lesbian, gay and bisexual identities that emerges in previous research; a category of people who are similar yet different from older heterosexuals. In the second section we trouble, or queer, this identification, considering insights from queer theory, the post-structuralist feminism of Judith Butler, together with the sociological perspectives of ethnomethodology and conversation analysis. We then outline how we are developing a methodology in our own research that adopts these insights and that uses both membership categorisation analysis and narrative analysis, although for reasons of brevity we focus our discussion in this chapter on our use of the former. We outline and give examples of this wor
A Gap Year is a break in an educational career, principally taken between leaving school and beginning university. Previous research on the Gap Year has suggested it is a form of social class positioning or forum for undertaking transitions in identity during young adulthood. This paper extends this research into the context of higher education itself. The paper illustrates, by a detailed analysis of interview data, that significant identity work is undertaken by young people in their accounts of their Gap Year. It demonstrates that this identity work, involving talk of confidence, maturity and/or independence, is related to two forms of distinction: a life course distinction and a social distinction. The paper discusses the significance of this identity work for our understandings of the Gap Year, its place in young people's transitions to adulthood and for future research.
Cooper G, King A, Rettie R (2012) Preface,
Purpose ? The purpose of this paper is to contribute to debates about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) housing later in life by placing these in a theoretical context: social capital theory (SCT). Design/methodology/approach ? After a discussion of SCT, emanating from the works of Robert Putnam and Pierre Bourdieu, the paper draws on existing studies of LGBT housing later in life, identifying key concerns that are identified by this body of literature. Findings ? The paper then applies SCT to the themes drawn from the LGBT housing later in life literature to illustrate the usefulness of putting these in such a theoretical context. Originality/value ? Hence, overall, the paper fills an important gap in how the authors think about LGBT housing later in life; as something that is framed by issues of social networks and connections and the benefits, or otherwise, that accrue from them.
This study focuses upon Greek women aged in their twenties and thirties, examining how they have experienced ?emerging adulthood? amidst the post-2008 social and economic crisis. Despite several commentaries charting the social consequences of the Greek crisis, few have examined exclusively on young women. This thesis is among the first to demonstrate the gendered effects of the Greek crisis. Based on in-depth interviews with 36 young women in Thessaloniki and Athens, the study assesses how young women negotiate ?emerging adulthood?, by examining certain attributes of the crisis, combined with Greece?s unique cultural fabric. The thesis examines how traditional markers of adulthood, such as having a job, acquiring accommodation, establishing stable romantic relations and forming families have been considerably curtailed due to the effects of the crisis.
The findings of the thesis are positioned around three major themes; firstly, the importance of education and work for young women during emerging adulthood. Due to a reduction in labour market opportunities in medium-high skilled work, young middle-class women have found themselves facing considerably curtailed employment prospects. The study examines how young women negotiate these challenging employment contexts, learning to find ways of coping within these situations. Secondly, with most young women forced to live with parents, the thesis examines the ways these living situations provide both a safety net, but also a hinderance to their sense of autonomy and independence. Finally, the thesis explores how young middle-class women in Greece negotiate love and intimacy under conditions of financial hardships and a general context of uncertainties and insecurities. The thesis concludes with the argument that significant social uncertainties and repeated experiences of personal injustice and social strain have resulted in resignation - an accepted state of their life events with few alternatives and hopes of positive change.