Changes in the Saudi family structure are having profound effects on the current cohort of older Saudi women. This is reflected in living arrangements whereby family patterns have been transformed from extended to nuclear ones. Previous social research has not examined the current situation of older Saudi women, with little known about their Quality of Life (QoL). This study explores the QoL of older unmarried Saudi women by analysing their family relationships, social lives and daily activities. It examines how family relationships, social integration, health and financial aspects are influenced by social policies and gender-related issues. The study is based on in-depth interviews with a purposive sample of 50 widowed, divorced and never-married women aged 60-75 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia from a range of socio-economic classes; 25 lived alone and 25 lived in inter-generational households. Gender segregation was a decisive factor that adversely affected the QoL of interviewees. They were dependent on their family or maids socially, instrumentally, and some financially on the ‘Goodwill’ of their children or relatives. Older divorced women were particularly likely to experience financial and social problems. Lower class and many middle class older women who lived alone were dissatisfied and suffered from depression, isolation and loneliness, whereas higher class women living alone demonstrated greater autonomy, independence and life satisfaction. Most interviewees had poor health and multiple chronic diseases, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, which are linked to their socially and geographically restricted lives. Also, urbanization and associated cultural changes have adversely affected their QoL. Gender segregation driven by ultra-conservative patriarchy has resulted in the economic and social dependency and restricted lives of older unmarried Saudi women. State intervention is needed to improve the general situation of older women, such as establishing care homes, increasing social insurance income and providing medical insurance.
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.
Abstract Kuwait has changed dramatically over the last 50 years and simultaneously the world has changed in terms of economic and financial factors, globalization, technology, and religion. These changes have implications for the lives of women in terms of a range of factors such as clothing, relationships, sexuality, childhood, and parenting. This thesis aimed to explore how women make sense of themselves in the context of this changing world taking three different perspectives. In line with this, three inductive empirical studies were carried out in Kuwait using open-ended in-depth interviews as the methodological tool and thematic analysis as the analytic approach. Reported meaning making experiences were shared on culturally sensitive topics providing new insights to contribute academically in this under-researched field. Study one explored taboo issues related to the women’s sexuality and relationships (aged 19-27). The aim was to examine reasons as to why young Muslim Kuwaiti women engage in pre-marital sexual relationships and how much their modernized thoughts influence their personal desires even if they are aware of the consequences in societal norms and rigid restrictions. Results indicated that women engage in romantic relationships and continuously feel the need to “balance” between their secretive personal sexual desires and the Islamic Sharia law of Kuwait. Having relationships in this changing world creates issues around sexual guilt. This creates tensions and implications for women including “a clash” of their two selves when managing two identities. Study two involved a sample of unmarried Muslim Kuwaiti women (aged between 22-55). The aim was to understand the causes of the increased rates of divorce and spinsterhood in an Islamic context that stigmatizes single women. Results indicated that women demand to remain single for reasons such as the demand for independence in their patriarchal context and the desire for new marital expectations. Being unmarried in this changing world creates cultural rebound effects explained in women’s senses of social and family pressures, clothing, sexual liberation, and the Kuwaiti feminist roles in today’s changing world when transgressing taboo. Conflict is created when choosing between being socially invisible because their desires for “women’s independency” is neglected in Kuwait, or being socially visible in a “negative light” for choosing to remain unmarried within their Islamic context. Yet still, they are not willing to give up their independent identities in order to fit in with traditional or marital expectations. Study three looks at the views of religious, traditional, and modern Muslim Kuwaiti mothers today and their relations with their children, specifically in raising daughters (aged between 5-13). The aim was to explore socio-cultural patterns of change allowing a richer understanding of Muslim Kuwaiti mothers in current generations in comparison to the past. Results indicated that mothers are continuously normalizing cultural taboos and social stigmas in terms of emotional and intellectual aspects. Tension was apparent when reflecting on the veil, education, and social life in a changing world. The mothers did face some challenges by living in an “old” traditional space, yet in a “new” modern time. With that, they desired stronger daughters (with a future that does not mirror theirs). Overall, this thesis shows that living in a changing world in Kuwait challenges women’s identities when reflecting upon social identity approach and self-categorization theory. This creates tension of self and identity. Women when describing their sexual relationships, being unmarried, or bringing up their daughters experienced a sense of clash of self and identity when balancing between desired selves and social identities.
This study explores three stages of migration of Czech and Slovak women who migrated to Britain between 1989 and 2004 to first work as au-pairs and later settled in the UK. It investigates their migration journeys through qualitative life-course interviews and examines the gendered nature of their motivations, their experiences of the migration process and their approach to integration, intertwined with their perpetually evolving sense of belonging. Conceptually the study is informed by Boyd and Grieco’s (2003) theoretical framework of temporal analysis of migration stages combined with intersectional insight and the theory of structuration. This theoretical combination acknowledges the interconnection of gender with several other social categories (such as class, nationality and race) that shaped individual migrants’ journeys, whilst it was equally able to recognise the impact of macro level forces on women’s choices and their continuous effort to be accepted as a fully recognised member of the host society. Some of the core concepts that arose from the interviews include the gendered nature of migrant domestic work, particularly in relation to ambiguity surrounding the au-pair scheme that resulted in a significant disparity between migrants’ and host families’ expectations of what au-pairs should do. The study also found that both the attitudes of migrants towards the home population and their understanding of how they were received by the British population were directly linked to the concept of gender, race and national stereotyping. The analysis suggests that these women’s motivations were affected by challenges of the post-communist transition period in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. It also discovered that migrants’ pre-conceived expectations of Britain as mostly white and middle-class society were met with starkly different complex reality of a multicultural and a class divided Britain. The findings show some evidence that the women utilised their gender and race to negotiate their initially unfavourable societal position in order to gradually improve their social capital, whilst the intersection of their nationality and class created specific barriers that hindered their original ambitions to pursue further education in the UK.
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.
This research explores the extent to which employees in the UK manage their emotions on SNSs as they try to ensure their activities conform to their employers’ expectations in a competitive and unsecure labour market. This topic was explored by interviewing forty employees aged over twenty-five from a range of professions and who use at least one of the social networking platforms. The participants’ personal experiences of some of the new features of the UK labour market, such as labour market insecurities, as well as their distinctive domestication of SNSs, form a backdrop for the exploration of whether they tailor and suppress their performances and emotions on SNSs. As a result, this study explored the extent to which the interviewees perform emotional labour on SNSs as they manage their emotions to meet their employers’ expectations. Previous studies on the use of the various forms of social networking sites have focused primarily on children, teenagers and young adults, usually between the ages of thirteen and twenty-five. These studies explored how young adults use these SN platforms to strengthen their social capital and manage online impressions, as well as their perception of online privacy and surveillance. While these issues may be relevant to older adults’ use of social networking sites, it was proposed that using these SN platforms and, at the same time, ensuring employers’ expectations are met in an unsecure and competitive labour market, might add further complexities to their experiences. Drawing on the literature on the current state of the labour market, social practices on networking sites and emotional labour with respect to conforming to employers’ expectations, this present study used the theories of Goffman on dramaturgy, Hochschild and Bolton on emotion management, Standing on the precarious society, boyd on collapse contexts and networked publics, and Silverstone and Hirsch on domestication to frame the research questions, design and analysis. Findings revealed that within this group of employees, SN platforms have not only become a vital tool to interpret and adapt to certain new features of the UK labour market, such as the increase in labour market insecurities, but have also become a site where emotional labour is performed to an extent. Surprisingly, there were many similarities in the way these participants use and incorporate these platforms, irrespective of certain demographics such as their type of profession, gender and age that were initially assumed to lead to major differences. It was observed that the majority of the interviewees experience various emotions and feel obliged to tailor, suppress and manage these emotions in the workplace and on SNSs to meet their employers’, and in some cases their colleagues and clients’ expectations. This study advocates the notion that since the continuous use of social networking sites involve suppressing, tailoring and negotiating various emotions, they should be considered a site for emotional labour. In conclusion, as the labour market appears to be undergoing significant changes, it may be that other locations besides the workplace and social networking sites, where emotional management is required, may exist. As such, this study provides a foundation potentially useful to explore other complex settings where employees might perform some form of emotion management.
What happens when lesbian and gay people, who are more likely to be childless and single than their heterosexual peers, get older and need support and care? Who can they turn to? In addressing this question, this article draws on data collected as part of a wider project concerning the housing preferences, experiences and concerns of older LGBT people in the United Kingdom. The article explores the social networks that older lesbian and gay people expect to utilise later in life if they require different forms of care. It uses social capital theory and considers the role of ‘families of choice’ in older lesbian and gay people’s lives, questioning whether such bonds may or may not be useful for different forms of care and support older lesbian and gay people may require late in life.
G Cooper, A King, R Rettie (2012)Preface
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.
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.
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.
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.
How is sexuality studied methodologically? How are we innovating, methodologically, in the study of sexuality? What impact, if any, has the increase in mixed methodologies had on the study of sexuality? Sexualities Research brings together original contributions by emerging and world-leading scholars of sexuality. Through this volume the authors seek to address how theoretical and methodological choices enable wider dissemination and social impact of sexualities research. Indeed, covering a diverse range of theoretical perspectives and methodologies to provide important new insights into human sexuality, the chapters cover an array of topics from the experience of researching sexuality, to using theories in new and innovative ways. With an international scope, Sexualities Research also builds on the re-emergence of the European Sociological Association Sexuality Research Network and asks important questions about the study of sexuality in contemporary societies against the background of political upheaval and economic troubles. Certainly, this collection shows the importance and vitality of sociological understandings of human sexuality in the twenty-first century. An enlightening volume consisting of a variety of case studies and theoretical research, Sexualities Research will appeal to undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as postdoctoral researchers who are interested in fields such as Sociology, LGBT/Queer Studies and Gender Studies.
Over the past decade or so the lives of older people who identify as lesbian, gay and/or bisexual (LGB) have increasingly become the focus of research, emanating from academics, third-sector organisations and community-based projects. This population of older adults has also been identified in some forms of policy making and service provision as being in particular need of support. Moreover, writers have suggested that because current generations of older LGB people experienced a more draconian climate earlier in their lives, even if they did not necessarily identify as lesbian, gay and/or bisexual at the time, this legacy of stigma has endured (de Vries, 2014; Knauer, 2011). Cumulatively, therefore, older LGB people are identified as a distinct group of the ageing population with different life experiences and needs to their older heterosexual peers, which requires an institutional response.
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.
The approaching 30th anniversary of the introduction of the 1988 Local Government Act offers an opportunity to reflect on the nature of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) activism in Britain. The protests against its implementation involved some of the most iconic moments of queer activism. Important though they are, these singular, totemic moments give rise to, and are sustained by small, almost unobtrusive acts which form part of LGB peopleâs everyday lives. This article aims to contribute to a re-thinking of queer activism where iconic activism is placed in a synergetic relationship with the quieter practices in the quotidian lives of LGB people. The authors interrogate a series of examples, drawn from three studies, to expand ideas about how activism is constituted in everyday life. They discuss the findings in relation to three themes: the need to forge social bonds often forms a prompt to action; disrupting the binary dualism between making history and making a life; and the transformative potential of everyday actions/activism. The lens of the sociology of everyday life (1) encourages a wider constituency of others to engage in politics, and (2) problematises the place of iconic activism. Â© The Author(s) 2017.
In recent years there has been a growth in organizational 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 organizational scoping study of older LGB adults. The ramifications of this for organizational research, policy making and practice are considered in the conclusion. Â© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
With an increasingly diverse ageing population, we need to expand our understanding of how social divisions intersect to affect outcomes in later life. This edited collection examines ageing, gender, and sexualities from multidisciplinary and geographically diverse perspectives and looks at how these factors combine with other social divisions to affect experiences of ageing. It draws on theory and empirical data to provide both conceptual knowledge and clear ‘real-world’ illustrations. The book includes section introductions to guide the reader through the debates and ideas and a glossary offering clear definitions of key terms and concepts.
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.
What does it mean to grow older as a lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans (LGBT) person? What gaps in knowledge about LGBT ageing remain? This timely and innovative book reports on a project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council which aimed to address gaps in knowledge about older LGBT people and their experiences of ageing. The book discusses the project and contains chapters either specially commissioned or written by leading researchers and activists in the field. Informed by a range of theoretical perspectives, empirical research studies, critical observations as well as lived experiences, this book explores areas of LGBT ageing that have been under-studied. These include: bisexual ageing; trans ageing and older trans people’s mental health; ethnicity, culture and religion in the lives of older LGBT people and gaps in knowledge about older LGBT people from minority ethnic communities; intergenerational networks; residential and end-of-life care; and the effects of austerity on services. Written in an accessible style, this book is essential for researchers and policy makers interested in the lives of older LGBT people, people who work with older people and teachers and students interested in ageing, gender identity and sexuality.
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to put the findings of the Secure, Accessible, Friendly and Equal (SAFE) Housing study, which explored older LGBT* people’s housing concerns, preferences and experiences, in a sociological context. Design/methodology/approach The SAFE Housing study was based on a mixed methods research design that included focus groups and an online survey conducted in two areas of England. The paper draws heavily on the theoretical concept of social capital to help to understand and explain the findings. Findings Findings are grouped into three broad themes: safety, comfort and trust; connections and community; and imagining the future. Originality/value This is the first time that an older LGBT housing study has used social capital theory to interpret its findings. This shows how a focus on issues of trust, social networks and connections is expedient to avoid reductive approaches in research, policy and practice to older LGBT* people’s housing choices, preferences and expectations that concentrate on the individual.
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.
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 heterosexuality is regarded as the dominant mode for conducting intimate relationships, which in turn is linked to traditional cultural beliefs about the way women and men should behave. For example, the belief that men are naturally sexually active, while women are naturally sexually passive. The concept of heteronormativity, referring as it does to the privileging of certain dominant forms of heterosexuality, goes beyond the perhaps more familiar terms of homophobia and heterosexism. The focus is upon inequality and the disadvantages faced by those who are not heterosexual, whilst also allowing us to consider how these conditions might affect people who are heterosexual. One of the key arguments in this chapter is that both health and social care policy and practice is often underpinned, albeit unwittingly, by heteronormative attitudes and behaviours. We begin by outlining why there is a need for both policy makers and health and social care practitioners to pay more attention to the interaction between gender, sexuality and ageing. Following this we focus on existing literature in this area, paying particular attention to the issues of formal and informal care giving and receiving amongst older LGB adults. This provides the basis for our critical analysis of the heteronormative assumptions underpinning care and the identity categories on which it is based. We illustrate these with reference to a case study of the caring experiences of two gay men. In conclusion we provide some practical suggestions for the way in which both policy makers and service providers can begin to pay greater attention to the experiences of this cohort of older adults. However, we must recognise that people use categories such as LGB for positive as well as negative effects. Indeed, we are not dismissing them or their importance in the struggle for recognition. We do nonetheless think that a thorough consideration of what they encompass is necessary.
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.
A King, S Neal, K Murji, S Watson, K Woodward (2015)Untitled Foreword, In: SOCIOLOGY-THE JOURNAL OF THE BRITISH SOCIOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION49(2)pp. 207-211
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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 work before discussing its advantages and disadvantages. Finally, we discuss the impact that taking the notion of ‘queering’ seriously has had on our own methodological practice and its potential for a wider application.
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.
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.
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.
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.
While there is evidence of the cultural scripts lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older people use in making sense of their lives, little attention has been given to how these scripts are themselves produced. This article examines cultural representations of LGBT ageing and older people in 40 UK and Australian websites. It is argued that these sites form part of a cultural imaginary about LGBT ageing and older people accessed by policy makers and service providers. Employing membership categorization analysis, the study revealed attributes attached to LGBT ageing categories that related to constraint and celebration narratives. It also uncovered anomalies within the text of 23 websites where celebration and constraint attributes were juxtaposed, although in 15 websites only celebration representations were apparent. The findings highlight the complexity of some representations of LGBT ageing and older people, and the limitations of framing LGBT ageing and older people in homogenous ways.
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 with the approaches adopted amongst the chapters in the collection. The book is divided into a number of sections. The chapters in the first section are primarily concerned with theoretical questioning. Chapters in the second section discuss methodological aspects of doing sexuality research, whilst those in the final section are concerned with the social and political impacts of researching sexualities.
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.
International student mobility had undergone considerable growth over the last thirty years (OECD, 2015). Students who travel to different countries to study can be seen as an important group of people who develop the internationalisation of higher education. One type of student mobility, credit mobility, has come to assume greater importance recently. The number of credit mobile students, that is students who undertake a period studying or working abroad during their degree, has increased (European Commission, 2016). However, whilst credit mobile students form only a small minority of the student population, there has been a lack of research with young people who choose to participate in these programmes. This PhD research is a qualitative project that explores the motivations, experiences and aspirations of UK students who have spent either a semester or year abroad. Firstly, this study explores the backgrounds and biographies of these students who choose to travel abroad for higher education. Secondly, the study analyses the experiences of these students during their stay overseas. And thirdly, careful attention is paid to the aspirations of these students after they have returned from their period abroad. In this research, I demonstrate how young people attach significant value to student mobility by discussing it as an acceptable form of ‘authentic’ travel. Discourses around acceptable forms of travel, I show, stem from the habitus (Bourdieu 1986) of these young people. Secondly, I provide the first in-depth analysis of the key experiences of these students whilst abroad. Drawing on John Urry’s (2002) concept of the tourist gaze, I outline how new experiences away from home create a sense of adventure and novelty. Lastly, this research makes an original contribution to knowledge by developing our understanding of the aspirations of students who have completed a period abroad. Using Bauman’s (1996, 1998) theory of ‘tourism’, I demonstrate how young people who have studied and/or worked abroad become seduced by imagined mobile futures. I show how, for these students, their experiences create desires to continue living mobile lifestyles.