Date of Award

1-1-2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Human Communications

First Advisor

Bernadette M. Calafell

Keywords

identity, intersectionality, personal narrative, queer theory, reflexivity

Abstract

There is currently a lack of intersubjective research involving human participants and conceptual frameworks that include queer theory. Queer theory's poststructuralist epistemology tends toward desubjectification, problematizing research that relies on participants' self-reports of lived experience. The author proposes that the interdisciplinary nature of Communication Studies, which is situated within the humanities and social sciences, leaves communication scholars well poised to contribute to ongoing metatheoretical and metamethodological conversations regarding queer theory and intersubjective research, particularly in relation to cultures and identities. To contribute to this scholarly conversation, the author utilizes the deconstructionist lens of queer theory to contextualize communication, employs personal narrative as methodology informed by the performance paradigm, and co-constructs personal narratives with five queer-identified men in order to explore queer identity in lived experience. While queer theory's anti-essentialist philosophy has been explored and tested through textual analysis, queer scholars have rarely attempted to triangulate their assessment of the heuristic value of queer theory with the lived experiences of people who identify as queer. More specifically, the purpose of this dissertation is to explore how queer men experience their identities in relation to their bodies and personal politics, and how queer men contribute to and contest representations of gay male bodies in popular discourses and gay rights issues in political discourses. Additionally, the author operationalizes intersectional reflexivity as a paramethodological and political commitment throughout the research process. The following themes emerged from the narrative analysis: (1) queer men experience their identities in intersectional and reflexive ways, (2) queer men experience their bodies in relation to narrow and idealized representations of gay male bodies, and attempt to internalize and promote body positivity, (3) queer men espouse political commitments to social justice and coalitional activism that extend beyond legislative activism, (4) queerness in lived experience does not demonstrate the seamless anti-essentialist philosophy of queer theory in that queer men must negotiate ideological tensions grounded in daily practice, (5) experiences of incongruency within various identities leads queer men to develop a queer consciousness that is inherently intersectional and reflexive and creates spaces of possibility for coalitional activism. The narratives are presented using performative writing that captures the vocal and emotional qualities of the spoken words and creates dialogic spaces in which the voices and experiences of queer men become more public, validated, and supported across communities.

Provenance

Recieved from ProQuest

Rights holder

Richard G. Jones, Jr.

File size

266 p.

File format

application/pdf

Language

en

Discipline

Communication, Gender studies

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