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GLBTQ Community Issues and Attributes: Part 4 of 4: Dissertation Abstracts
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Abstracts: Papers, articles, and books.
Abstracts: Ph.D and Master's Theses

ABSTRACTS: Ph.D & Master's Theses

Azzolina DS (1996). The circle always grew: folklore and gay identity, 1945-1960. Ph.D. Thesis, University Of Pennsylvania, DAI Vol. 5704A, p. 1782, 285 pages.

Abstract by author: It has become a common place in Gay studies that the rise of Gay culture as we know it today has its roots in the years immediately following World War II. Using life history field techniques as a means of doing field research, the folklore of Gay men of this era is examined. Interviews were conducted with men who were out in the Gay world during the fifteen years after 1945. Biographies of the men are provided. Specific kinds of folkloric behavior are explicated including bar customs, nicknaming, parties, festival events and popular means by which men were able to identify one another as Gay and become part of the Gay community. The role folklore plays in the process of Gay identification is also examined. Historical context is provided for the era as it impacts the ways in which Gays were seen and the influence the Gay presence reflects the tenor of the times. Underlying concepts of Gay identity and community are given priority as a theoretical underpinning furthering understanding of the ways in which folklore is a necessary ingredient for both identity and community. It is demonstrated that any understanding of Gay men of that era must attend to their creative abilities in using folklore to carve a place for themselves in the cultural arena.

Publication No.   9627878
 

Boies SC (1997). Community participation, identity development and psychological well-being in young gay men: exploring expressions of gay self-concept in community interactions. Ph.D. Thesis, The Wright Institute, DAI Vol. 58:11B, p. 6277, 131 pages.

Abstract by author: This survey explored the relationships between participation in community life, psychological well-being and identity development in a convenience sample of 96 young gay men. As expected, the lack of association between a measure of overall gay community participation and well-being suggests the need to differentiate between types of participation. A significant main effect of the level of non-sexualized participation was found, indicating significant higher well-being in individuals with high level of non-sexualized participation compared to those with low level of non-sexualized participation. A factor analysis of the items forming the global measure of community participation identified four types of participation, of which two were associated with well-being: (1) socialization with gay friends and (2) attending public gay gatherings which was positively correlated with environmental mastery.  Findings also suggest that sexualized interactions may relate negatively with gay men’s sense of wellness. The hypothesis that interactions in settings pertaining to political activity and volunteerism would be positively associated with well-being was not supported.  Trends were identified indicating that overall community participation and non-sexualized participation are higher in gay men at later stages of gay identity development. Respondents at later stages of identity gay development reported greater socialization with gay friends than respondents at earlier stages. The results are discussed within a context of gay men’s mental health and identity development. Recommendations for future studies are presented.

Publication No.   9813753
 

Bull SL (1998). An exploratory study of computer-initiated sexual contact in the gay community. MSW Thesis, California Stae University, Long Beach, MAI Vol. 36-02, p. 640, 79 pages.

Abstract: This study explored the motivation among gay men to initiate semi-anonymous sexual encounters through the bulletin board system, the nature of these relationships, and the perceived safety of these encounters. It was hypothesized by this researcher that the majority of gay men on computer bulletin boards are using them to meet sexual partners. A self-administered, self-constructed questionnaire was distributed by mail and at a computer-board-related gathering in Long Beach, California. Of the 53 questionnaires distributed, 45 were completed and returned. Gay men did use the computer board as a means of meeting potential semi-anonymous sexual partners. They also used it, however, to find friends, dates, and life partners.  The majority reported using the computer board to meet friends. It was not perceived to be any safer to meet someone on a computer board than by any other means by the majority of the respondents.

Publication No. 1387566
 

Burkhart JM (1996). Investigating community structure in a lesbian community: positive and negative aspects. Ph.D. Thesis, Kent State University, DAI Vol. 56-07A, 284 pages.

Abstract: The study was a qualitative examination of the structure of a lesbian community. Six women who had experienced recent and significant life stressors were formally interviewed about the impact of membership in the community, and whether such membership helped to mediate or served to exacerbate coping with significant life stressors.  Informal interviews, participant observation, and examination of relevant documents and literature were additional research techniques used to complement the information garnered from the formal interviews. Two areas of interest emerged from the data collection procedures. These included the impact of the community on identity development and the role of the community leaders.  The data was analyzed using qualitative techniques including coding, triangulation, and confirmation of the findings by the participants. The findings were as follows: (1) the community significantly impacts the lives of the community members, generally in a positive direction; (2) the community influences the manner in which one's identity as a lesbian is expressed; and (3) the leaders in the community serve primarily as shapers of the community rather than as directors of the community activities. A symbolic interactionist perspective served as the basis for the interpretation of the data. This community was compared on important characteristics to other communities, both with similar and with divergent purposes and philosophies. Many of the suggestions for future research include more systematic comparisons of particular community characteristics. The impact of the study on both the participants and on the researcher was explicated.

Publication No. 9536628
 

Conerly G (1997). Policing the Boundaries: Defining Black Lesbian/Gay Identity and Community Relationships. Ph.D. Thesis, The University of Iowa, DAI Vol. 58:05A, p. 1934, 342 pages.

Abstract by author: In my dissertation, I examine: (1) how African-Americans with a same-sex sexual identity conceptualize their social (including sexual), political, and/or cultural relationships with each other, white lesbigays, and heterosexual blacks; (2) how the ways in which these relationships are constructed affect the meanings they attach to race/ethnicity, same-sex sexuality, and gender; (3) the cultural politics among African-American lesbians and gays over how these relationships and identities ‘should’ be constructed; and (4) how primary community choice (white lesbigay, heterosexual black, black lesbigay, or some combination) affects how black lesbians and gays see these relationships, identities, and cultural political battles. To explore these issues, I interviewed eight people who were part of the ‘post-Stonewall’ generation. What distinguished them were their gender and the primary social world they inhabited.  I interviewed one person of each gender who, relatively speaking, negotiated his/her identity as a black lesbian/gay primarily in either white-dominated lesbigay spaces, heterosexual-dominated black spaces, black lesbigay spaces, or some combination. I conclude with a discussion of how future researchers may explore the relationships between identity and community among African-American lesbigays.

Publication No.   9731781
 

Corey EL (1995). Social network influences on gay men’s attitudes toward gay rights, discrimination, and sexuality. Ph.D. Thesis, University Of California, Los Angeles, DAI Vol. 56:09A, p. 3761, 112 pages.

Abstract by author: Applying Laumann’s (1973) model of the relationship between network structure and attitudes, this study explores how network characteristics (homogeneity and density) influence attitudes about gay rights and sexual behavior. In addition, this study looks at norms as they increase understanding of attitudes and community activities as they relate to attitudes. Data from the UCLA Natural History of Psychological AIDS (NHAPS) questionnaire study is used to demonstrate that homogeneity of gay sexual orientation within one’s network is found to be significantly correlated with political attitudes, while density is correlated with partnership rights. With regard to sexual attitudes, it appears that density bears a significant relationship with both network norms and the individual’s attitude about multiple partners. In regression analyses, the interaction between increasing density and network norms favorable to multiple partners significantly predicted a non-judgemental stance about multiple partners within the gay community. In networks supportive of gay lifestyles, including multiple partners, the denser the network the greater the likelihood that the individual was likely to feel that multiple partners was not destructive to the gay community.  Hierarchical regression analyses found that norms and HIV status predicted the individual’s rating of the importance of multiple partners to self. In general, this study found support for the Laumann model, which predicts a relationship between structural characteristics and certain attitudes, namely attitudes of a political nature. It also supports the addition of network norms to increase understanding of such attitudes. A possible limitation of the Laumann model and further research is suggested by the lack of findings for the relationships between structures and attitudes about the self.

Publication No.   9601320
 

Dishman JD (1997). Digital dissidents: the formation of gay communities on the internet.  M.A. Thesis, University of Southern California, MAI 35:05, 201 pages.

As we stand at the threshold of the closing of the mechanical age and emergence of the information age, our attentions shift from a modern mechanized culture to a post-industrial culture that is bound to and by information. They are therefore inextricably bound to information technologies. As a result, there has been an increasing awareness of, and interest in, the emergence of digital cultures. Virtual environments have given rise to new ways of thinking about the self, space, and time. Since the earliest days of public access to the Internet, gay men have had a strong presence online. They have sought to create dissident spaces where homosexuality is the norm, rather than an exception to it. This thesis examines the formation, process, and outcomes of gay communities on the Internet.  The research is based on the content analysis of at-length interviews and online surveys with gay Internet users in Los Angeles County. While online communities were initially thought to be capable of supplanting real-world communities, they, in fact, serve primarily as an entre and an augmentation to real-world relationships and communities.

Publication No. 1384891
 

Doyle VA (1997). Coming into site: identity, community and the production of gay space in Montreal.  M.A. Thesis, Mcgill University, MAI Vol. 37:01, p. 89, 105 pages, ISBN: 0-612-29541-9.

Abstract by author: This project explores the question of gay male identity and community formation in relation to the production of social space designated as ‘gay.’ What economic, social, political and symbolic resources are involved in the production of gay space? And how can social space be thought of as creating the conditions of possibility for the formation of specific gay identities and communities? Using a ‘production of space’ analysis adapted from the work of Henri Lefebvre, I examine the case of Montreal’s gay village. I argue that the emergence of this space, in both material and symbolic terms, has led to a particular sense of ‘spatial identity’ among many gay men in Montreal. I analyze the implications of these ‘space-based’ identities for queer community formation and conclude that the Village constitutes a compromise with the dominant culture, rather than a radical form of spatial praxis.

Publication No.   MQ29541
 

Esparza GG (1997). All the wrong places: homophobia, self-esteem, and anonymous sex among gay men. MSW Thesis, California State University, Long Beach, MAI Vol. 35-03, 83 pages.

Abstract: This study explored relationships between the psychological adjustment variables of self-esteem and internalized homophobia on the frequency of anonymous sexual behavior in gay men. The study's convenience sample consisted of 28 gay men between the ages of 23 to 52 years old. Participants completed a 20 minute questionnaire which consisted of a 10-item self-esteem scale, a 30-item index to measure internalized homophobia, and an eight-item scale that measured the frequency of anonymous sex. After completing the questionnaire, 10 respondents were selected to participate in a face-to-face tape-recorded interview as part of the qualitative aspect of this study. Findings indicated that no relationship exists between levels of self-esteem and anonymous sex. An inverse relationship, however, approached significance in the correlation between internalized homophobia and anonymous sexual behavior; that as the level of internalized homophobia decreased, the frequency of anonymous sex increased slightly. Further insight provided from the interview subjects suggested that some gay men perceive anonymous sexual activity as a positive element of their gay identity.

Publication No. 1382978
 

Esterberg KG (1992). Salience and solidarity: identity, correctness, and conformity in a lesbian community. DAI Vol. 53-04A, 298 pages.

Abstract: This dissertation tests a theoretical model of identity salience, community participation, and conformity to community norms. Drawing on symbolic interactionist conceptions of identity, the model suggests that high levels of identity salience lead to increased participation in groups of similar others, and increased participation leads to increased conformity to group norms. By providing confirmation (or disconfirmation) of identities, emotions provide linkages among identity, community, and conformity. Ecological factors, such as location within the community and holding multiple identities, serve as a source of social constraints to this process. Five hypotheses drawn from the model were tested using interview and survey data from a sample of 95 lesbian and bisexual women in a lesbian community in upstate New York. Q-methodology was used to create a measure of conformity and to generate three separate accounts of lesbian/bisexual identity, and cluster analysis was used to model three locations within the community. Chi-squared tests and logistic regression analyses showed relatively little support for the theoretical model. Chi-squared tests indicated that location within the community is not related to emotion reported in response to scenarios of norm-breaking behavior but may be related to the strength of emotion reported. Identity salience is related to reported emotional response; those with higher levels of identity salience reported stronger emotional responses. Logistic regression analyses indicated that frequency of community participation and identity salience do not significantly affect conformity to community norms. However, others' expectations regarding identity salience have a positive and significant effect. Finally, holding multiple identities increases, not decreases, the likelihood of conformity. This unexpected result may indicate the presence of a learning effect. As individuals gain identities, they may become more skilled at the rules of social interaction and thus more likely to conform. These findings suggest the need to reformulate hierarchical notions of the self; people may bring more than one identity to bear in any given definition of the situation. Future work should also refine the concept of conformity and its operationalization.

Publication No. 9203933
 

Etzkorn JP (1995). Gay identity and involvement in the gay community among African American and white gay men.  Ph.D. Thesis, The University Of Texas At Austin, DAI Vol. 56:02A, p. 461, 231 pages.

Abstract by author: Being gay can be said to be a constructed identity that is developed through identification and involvement (real or imagined) with other gay people. Previous, qualitative and anecdotal works have suggested that African American gay men may be less involved with the predominantly White gay community and identify less with other gay people than do White gay men. Johnson (1981) found differences in gay identification and community involvement among African American gay men according to their primary identification either with their gay or African American identities. An exploratory, quantitative study compared gay identity and gay community involvement between 77 African American and 56 White self-identified gay men. The literature was reviewed and aspects of gay identity and gay community involvement were identified. The 90 items of the current study include both pertinent items from other studies and new items. Items were clustered in conceptually related groups, and clusters of items were analyzed using MANOVA.  Comparisons were made from responses on measures of gay identity, involvement in the gay community, sexual orientation, and a number of other issues pertinent to gay men. In addition, comparisons were made between primarily race-identified and primarily non-race-identified African American men. African American and White men appeared equally comfortable with their gay identity. However, as anticipated, the African American men rated themselves as less exclusively gay. Race was a much more central identity to the African American men than sexual orientation; the reverse was true for the White men. The African American men identified less with images of other men in gay media than did the White men; race was the most important reason for their feeling dissimilar. The White men reported generally greater involvement in the gay community including greater political involvement and greater attendance at mostly gay functions, and they had more gay friends than did the African American men. In general, the primarily race-identified and non-primarily-race-identified African American men did not differ on measures of gay identity or racial identity. The findings have implications for counseling gay people of color and for assumptions about gay identity expression.

Publication No.   9519285
 

Eylath GC (1997). Marching and watching: the sociological meaning of the gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender pride march (parades). Ph.D. Thesis, Brandeis University, DAI Vol. 58:04B, p. 1465, 190 pages.

Abstract: For centuries, parades, processions and marches have moved meaningfully through our social world.  As a social phenomenon, however, they have not received much formal attention in sociological literature. This neglect stems from the fact that sociologists focus on structure, rather than process or interaction. This study, however, maintains a focus on our ephemeral interactions and explores the sociological meaning of one march, the Pride March. The Pride March is viewed as a ritual and as a form of sociation in connection with the formal sociological approach to the study of social life developed by Georg Simmel. Simmel's approach is not empirically grounded, but this methodological shortcoming is remedied when a formal sociological perspective is informed by grounded theory. Thus, a variety of sources: field observations, Pride March memorabilia, parade permit applications, poetry, photographs (combined with the text) and thirty interviews with gay, lesbian, transgender, bi-sexual and straight Pride March participants are utilized in order to develop a sociological understanding of the Pride March.  The findings contribute to our understanding of the Pride March as a form of sociation characterized by the interplay of three ritual orientations. First, a nascent ritual process is revealed through the examination of the origin and development of the New York Pride March. Analysis of this process is informed by the theoretical views of Jean-Paul Sartre and Gila Hayim. Second, the examination of the March as a public process indicates a relationship between celebration, ceremony, and liturgy as 'modes of ritual sensibility' established by Ronald Grimes. And third, formal ritual features of a collective ceremony intermingle with Erving Goffman's 'forms and rules of pedestrian traffic' when the March is observed in situ. The Pride March, as well as other parades, processions and marches appear in the domain of marching and watching. Within this domain, two forms of sociation, marchers and watchers experience the event in their respective ways, but are tied to one another by a multitude of reciprocal behaviors.

Publication No. 9729357
 

Fikentscher K (1996). 'You better work ': music, dance, and marginality in underground dance clubs of New York City. Ph.D. Thesis, Columbia University, DAI Vol. 56-12A, 267 pages.

Abstract: This study of underground dance music (UDM) examines several aspects as part of an ongoing discussion on ethnomusicological topics in terms of subject matter, methodology and theory. These topics are the relationship between music and dance, the roles of the DJ as central figure in a specific musical context, and music as primary identifier of an urban subculture shaped primarily by gay and African American or Latino New Yorkers. By extension, this study also explores the connection between music and marginality, as enacted by bearers of African American and/or gay cultures in the performance context of UDM. UDM is a post-disco phenomenon shaped chiefly by DJs and dancers. The DJ acts as authority figure in an environment defined by a dynamic interaction between himself as the person in charge of the music as sound, and the dancers who collectively are in charge of the music as motion. As a soundscape architect, the DJ constructs an uninterrupted musical program from preproduced, prerecorded sources, mostly 12-inch vinyl singles, and, through a powerful sound system, feeds it to the dance floor where dancers translate his 'spinning' into theirs, his 'working' into their 'working out.' The feedback between DJ booth and dance floor is dynamic and bidirectional, resulting in an interactive musical performance marked by a continuous exchange between the energies of sound and motion. This exchange is regulated primarily on the level of rhythm. In UDM performance, rhythm regulates the autonomy and interdependence of music and dance as separate, yet connected modes of musical performance. The role of New York City as musical center is a final concern. This study probes UDM's ties to New York City as a geography which is home to various urban enclaves in which music plays a vital, defining role. It addresses the issue of UDM as a primary marker of a particular local musical culture specific to New York City as locale while exercising worldwide influence.

Publication No. 9611152
 

Jacobs C (1996). Out of the closet, into the attic: the development of services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and questioning youth. Ph.D. Thesis, The Union Institute, DAI Vol. 5703B, p. 2176, 232 pages.

Abstract by author: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and questioning youth have been ignored, invisibilized, and underserved by our institutions at a great social cost. Based on that understanding, this action research project encompassed a process which acknowledged the existence and service needs of sexual minority youth and then provided the needed services through a collaborative group process with the youth themselves. The project was conducted within a mainstream youth social service agency in the City of Philadelphia over a sixteen month period. During that time, services in the form of a weekly psychoeducational support group were initially piloted, and the existence and needs of sexual minority youth were determined. The group, which came to be known as the Attic because it met on the top floor of the Voyage House Building, grew rapidly and evolved into an ongoing Voyage House department, Sexual Minority Youth Programs, which provided services to a total of 234 youth during the project period. The action research document, Out of the Closet - Into the Attic describes the process of establishing the Attic group services in participation with the youth service recipients and of ‘visibilizing’ the youth through social action. It also provides insight into the forces that created the Attic group as well as the groups impact on the youth, and their life experiences. Attic group participants reported that the group was very helpful in their adjustment to a stigmatized identity and in overcoming their sense of isolation. Outcome and process measures were used to describe the demographic features of the Attic youth, characteristics of their group participation, and the community based activities that evolved from the Attic process.

Publication No.   9620942
 

Klinger AM (1996). Paper uprisings: print activism in the multicultural lesbian movement.  Ph.D. Thesis, University Of California, Berkeley, DAI Vol. 57:03A, p. 1138, 261 pages.

Abstract by author: This dissertation maps the collective accomplishment of an extensive network of lesbian writers, publishers, and booksellers operating outside of established literary channels since the second wave of the women’s movement. I argue that lesbian cultural workers deployed the printed page itself in the struggle for lesbian liberation, creating in the process an enduring array of innovative textual practices and alternative publishing arrangements. The revolutionary investment of lesbians in textual production, particularly apparent in multi-racial and multi-ethnic lesbian narratives, has made writing and reading vital tools for constructing an internationally recognizable North American lesbian community. In chapter one, I argue that contemporary lesbian writers most differ from the modernist lesbian literati of the 1920s and 1930s and from the lesbian pulp paperback writers of the 1950s and 1960s in their use of literature as a locus for political organization. I focus next on the historic undertaking of the lesbian-feminist alternative press to enable ‘literature’ to perform simultaneously the work of cultural awareness, political cohesion, and social activism. My account of the traffic in lesbian alternative press books in the following two chapters focuses on the political narratives and anti-racist literary exchanges that imbued lesbian literature with its power to effect progressive social change.  Concentrating on lesbian-feminist movement novels in chapter three and on multi-ethnic and multi-racial lesbian narratives, what I term ‘prose-testimonial,’ in chapter four, I analyze how lesbians cultivated the printed page to foster their grass-roots struggle for self-determination. In the concluding chapter, I venture into the lavender archive in an effort both to extend the insights made by the women in print movement and to facilitate ethnographic research in the field of lesbian studies. The ‘paper uprisings’ that lesbian discursive engagements represent provide theoretical tools for understanding the indivisibility of interconnected identities.  Additionally, they document the deeply felt commitments that fuel liberatory struggles and that deliver the resistance and optimism necessary to lesbian cultural survival.

Publication No.   9621220
 

Lord JC (1996). The universe of gay video pornography: 'the utterly confused category'. M.A. Thesis, Concordia University, MAI Vol. 35-06, 234 pages, ISBN: 0-612-18412-9.

Abstract: This thesis is a discursive and theoretical analysis of the gay video porn universe. It contextualizes the debate on the 'problem' of gay pornography, i.e., that it is misogynist and/or homophobic in its gender representations. Analyzing the two major streams of thought in the current literature (the 'substitute' and 'hyper/masculine' theses), it finds them to be too conceptually limiting on a presuppositional level to address all aspects of this 'universe' adequately. The thesis recontextualizes common theoretical binarisms (i.e., masculine/feminine, active/passive, male/female, powerful/powerless, etc.) in terms of a broader sociosexual binarism of 'sodomitical versus anti-sodomitical' discourse, based in part on Foucault's notion of 'the utterly confused category,' i.e., sodomy. Numerous examples are given from the universe of gay porn videos (scenes, sexual acts and positions, dialogue, porn stars themselves) to show that this terminological shift to sodomitical/anti-sodomitical discourse more effectively captures moments which in current heterosexist discourse remain either paradoxical or inarticulable. The thesis also disrupts the contemporary equation of the penis and the phallus and introduces the concepts of an 'anti-phallus,' a 'gay sodomizer', 'emergent gender identities,' and 'tangled gender hierarchies.' While the immediate aim of this thesis is a defense of gay video porn via its discursive reconceptualization, the implication is that, with further re-theorizing, our commonly held notions/connections of sex and gender can themselves be less restricting.

Publication No. MM18412
 

Luann L (1991) Masculine gender ideals of heterosexual and homosexual males. Ph.D. Thesis, California School of Professional Psychology, DAI Vol. 53-01B, 173 pages.

Abstract: This study compared the masculine gender ideals of heterosexually identified and homosexually identified males, using Keen and Zur's survey entitled, 'What makes an Ideal Man?', and a convenience sample taken from 6,000 respondents to its publication in Psychology Today (March, 1989), including 248 heterosexually identified males and 91 homosexually identified males.  Comparisons were made using t-tests, chi-square, and Hotelling's T square. There was a statistically significant difference in the responses of these two groups on twelve out of twenty-two factors which emerged through a factor analysis of the survey.  Heterosexual males defined the ideal man more likely to have an external moral system, seeing women as ineffective, being violent and competitive, and being family oriented. However, homosexual males defined the ideal man more likely to value spiritual and interpersonal development, being both internally and externally oriented, asserting strength and dominance, being feminist, and having freedom of sexual expression.  No significant difference was found in the degree to which these groups defined the ideal man as monogamous or sexually loyal, self serving and materialistic, altruistic, responsible, flexible, in control, and protective of loved ones. The results of this study shed light on the interplay between sexual orientation and sex role ideals. It supports Fein and Nuehring's (1981) theory that in the process of adjusting to their own homosexuality, gay men may reject many traditional cultural values and stereotypes, and develop an alternative value system. The values of the two groups studied differed, but both reflected high moral and ethical standards. The results also call into question the theoretical assumptions that there are shared masculine gender ideals for all males. The findings also question those theories in how they conceptualize internalized homophobia, and low self esteem for gay males. The homosexual male respondents seem to have successfully navigated the phase of questioning and reconstructing a value system, leading to healthy homosexual identity formation. This study suggests ways clinicians can better understand their homosexual male clients when presented with alternative value systems or uncommon gender ideals.

Publication No. 9209148
 

Miranda J (1996). Performing community: an analysis of discourses of community in the late Twentieth-Century United States. Ph.D. Thesis, Stanford University, DAI Vol. 56:10A, p. 3796,  217 pages.

Abstract by author: This project emerged from debates taking place in the mid-1980s between critical theory and poststructuralism over the very possibility for, and desirability of, community. The Habermasian ideal of intersubjective consensus formation in a realm purged of power seemed to involve the erasure of difference. Lyotard’s vision of social relations as competitive games played by individual maximizers seemed to imply the impossibility of collective action.  However, people do work collectively. Collective action need not be based on identity, consensus, or communion, but rather, viewed as discursive constructions or hegemonic formations, may be based on participation. To understand existing (or even potential) communal formations it makes sense, then, to explore the discourses through which particular social formations emerge. In the introductory chapter, I describe the contexts for contemporary community: the conventional opposition between individualism and community; and identity politics. In two ethnographic chapters, on a San Francisco gay and lesbian theater company and on the controversy over the National Endowment for the Arts, I explore the ways people understand their participation in collective action and the ways communities emerge through participation in non-profit corporations and political controversies. In the central theoretical chapter I offer a general theory of community within late twentieth-century United States capitalism. I propose a theory of community based on participation in standardized corporate practices, rather than on identity. I bring Marx’s insight that social relations are based in production together with post-structuralist theories of identity-as-practice (especially the work of Judith Butler), exploring both the performativity of production and consumption and the productivity of performance. To account for communities, not only binary classes, I expand the purview of production, including signification, consumption, identity and relationships, such that it converges with performativity. I argue that performativity, which in recent queer theory has been linked with theatrical performance and gay sex and celebrated as a relatively liberated heterogeneous practice, is much like production in being both constrained (in having been produced) and generative of social change. Community, and for that matter identity, I argue, emerges from the constrained but innovative performance of corporate forms.

Publication No.   9602903
 

Ottosdottir G (1991). The debate on lesbian sadomasochism: a discourse analysis. M.A. Thesis, Western Michigan University, MAI Vol. 30-01, 121 pages.

Abstract: This study examines an issue debated within the U.S. lesbian community since the mid-1970s, lesbian sadomasochism. The issue has been whether sadomasochism is consistent with lesbian feminism, a political ideology which has much shaped lesbian identity and community. The claims and counter-claims made about lesbian sadomasochism are analyzed, as are the underlying ideologies and their relationship to general lesbian political and cultural history. It is argued that the debate is the result of a limited subject position offered by lesbian feminism. The perspective of lesbian sadomasochists is seen as a call for a renewed lesbian feminist discourse. It is proposed that lesbian feminism adopt the notion of consciousness suggested by this perspective.

Publication No. 1345256
 

Schluter DP (1998). Fraternity without community: social institutions in the Soviet gay world.  Ph.D. Thesis, Columbia University, DAI Vol. 59:05A, p. 1801, 301 pages.

Abstract by author: This dissertation describes and analyzes the individual identities, social-ecological ‘landscape’, and group undertakings among the homosexual population of the Soviet Union during the final years of the Communist regime. Detailed description of the conditions of life for gay men and lesbians there reveals substantial social organization regarding personal considerations, the social environment, and their legal-political status in Soviet society. The theoretical framework for the analysis derives from the social-constructionist conceptualization of social institutions as such recognizable patterns of repeated actions and resultant states of existence. I employ it on three levels of analysis: the (inter-)individual level, the societal level, and the level of social categories and groups. Data are drawn from participant-observation research, formal but unstructured interviews (N = 20), and original survey research (N = 421) conducted among Soviet gay men and lesbians in 1990 and 1991. Among the stigmatized social category of ‘homosexuals’, self-identification is found to draw individuals into informal patterns of social interaction based on the commonality of their particular needs and interests.  Over time, this habitual conduct becomes institutionalized as a form of social organization I designate as gay ‘fraternity’. Because these interactions take place only on an individual-to-individual basis, the level of institutionalization observed is inadequate for fostering the formation of gay community, which form of social organization bases itself on a palpable solidarity among members of a social group displaying considerable social integration. Absent both protected ‘civil rights’ and a concept of the ‘rule of law’, the development of ‘civil society’ in the USSR was hampered. Officials suppressed and citizens repressed many important initiatives that individuals and groups otherwise would have undertaken in order to satisfy their most-basic ‘human needs’: health and autonomy. Social institutions specifically intended to meet the needs of homosexuals could not be developed under the powerful constraints of planned economy, single-party polity, and ideologized mass-society in the Soviet Union. The extraordinary difficulty of engendering interpersonal trust under these circumstances made group cohesion nearly impossible to create and maintain. Furthermore, the lack of group-level institutional development observed in the Soviet ‘gay world’ is only one case of what can be described more generally as the ‘constricted development’ of non-state institutions in Soviet society.

Publication No.   9834369
 

Sprecher, KM (1997). Lesbian intentional communities in rural southwestern Oregon: discussions on separatism, anvironmentalism, and community conflict. M.A. Thesis, California Institute Of Integral Studies, MAI Vol. 36:01, p. 60, 150 pages.

Abstract by author: The Southwestern Oregon rural lesbian intentional communities were born of the 1970’s lesbian-feminist and utopian, back-to-the-land, communal movements. The goals of these communities were to live simply and lightly on the land with respect for the natural environment, and to create new social structures based on egalitarian, peaceful, lesbian-feminist values and female safety, empowerment, and self-sufficiency. This study uses an anthropological framework to explore member perspectives on separatism, environmentalism, patterns of conflict, and conflict resolution. In this way, this ethnography establishes common values that unite the communities, common conflicts that threaten to disrupt community harmony, and theories and advice from community members and authors on how to avoid conflict, utilize conflict resolution tools, and create structures that can sustain themselves throughout conflict.

Publication No.   1386937
 

Sweeney VE (1995). The social support networks of older lesbians: a creative response. M.A. Thesis, Acadia University, MAI Vol. 34:03, p. 1015, 157 pages, ISBN: 0-612-04628-1.

Abstract by author: This thesis investigates sources of social support for a group of older lesbians who live in Nova Scotia. Using a feminist methodology has allowed the womyn, for and about whom this research is actually undertaken, to be heard in their own voices, sharing experiences which named and defined the research issues. Issues named by these older lesbians are: lesbian community, partnerships, friendships and non-lesbian support. As the patterns took shape a broader analysis suggests older lesbians are forced by heterosexist society, which is largely unaware of their concerns, to create their own support networks. These womyn know what they require to meet their needs and they also know it is not provided by heterosexual hegemonic institutions. The networks these lesbians create are structured not only to meet their needs but also to offer resistance against a society that would otherwise not recognize them or their relationships.

Publication No.   MM04628
 

Thornton RT (1998). Roles of rituals and ceremonies in the lives of lesbians in developing a positive self identity and community connectedness. M.A. Thesis, University Of Lowell, MAI Vol. 36:05, p. 1406, 54 pages.

Abstract by author: This qualitative study explored the role of rituals and ceremonies in the lives of lesbians in supporting the development of a positive self-identity and in facilitating community connectedness.  Semi-structured interviews were conducted with ten lesbians.  Content analysis was used to analyze the data. Holidays or annual celebrations, cyclical gatherings, partner union ceremony, other major one-time life events, daily or weekly constitutions, gay symbols rituals, and the sharing of coming out stories were the major types of rituals identified from the analysis. The participants indicated that their rituals have had an impact on their identities by allowing them to share feelings and experiences giving them affirmation, support and acceptance for who they are. They also used rituals to shape or change identities that were wrapped up in negative energy, masked or hidden. All of the participants found their rituals a powerful means to connect them to their communities of friends or family. Rituals and ceremonies brought them closer to their positive communities by deliberately setting aside time to be with others to share important parts of their lives. They were able to link to others and broaden their positive connections. Included are recommendations for further research and action implications.

Publication No.   1389037
 

Tripiano S (1997). Out of the margins: the construction of homosexuality in Spanish, German, and Italian cinema. Ph.D. Thesis, University Of Southern California, DAI Vol. 57:07A, p. 2715, 541 pages.

Abstract by author: Through a rereading of the Oedipal narrative in relation to the Laius / Chrysippus homosexual backstory, the myth of the homosexual father as a threat to the son’s entrance into the dominant social order, which originated in Judeo-Christian ideology and served as the rationale for anti-sodomy laws, is proven false. Within the context of Spanish, German and Italian cinema, the homosexual Oedipal narrative in conjunction with the Greek homosexual paradigm, which involves an intergenerational, pedagogical relationship, exposes patriarchy, and not homosexual desire, as the true ‘threat’ to the son.

In post-Franco Spain, homosexuals were part of a coalition of social groups who had been minoritized and marginalized under fascist control on the basis of their sexual, ideological, and political differences. Through the homosexual variation of the Spanish Oedipal narrative, the alignment of homosexual desire and post-Franco politics exposes patriarchy, as embodied by the patriarchal mother and the father, who engages in economic, political, and sexual seduction, as the source of sexual and political oppression.

The construction of homosexuality in German cinema challenges the social myth surrounding the adult male homosexual as a danger to the son’s entrance into the patriarchal order and the welfare of the German States. The homosexual ‘father’ serves not as a threat, but as a savior from the oppressive, patriarchal state, which is represented in the national/historical context of post-War Germany in the form of bourgeois values and capitalism.

The repressive tolerance of Italian society is reflected in the sympathetic cinematic treatment of homosexuals and the uncovering of the sexual and political oppression homosexuals continue to face as an ‘invisible’ minority. In the cultural context of the Mediterranean homosexual paradigm, homosexual desire is represented in terms of intergenerational relationships which are pedagogical and defined in terms of economic and cultural differences. Homosexual desire is also represented in the historical context of Italy’s fascist past in order to expose fascism’s intolerance of difference and align homosexuals with other marginalized social groups, namely women and Jews.

Publication No.  9636381
 

Valadez G. (1996). A discourse within: multicultural inclusion in the lesbian and gay community. Ed.D. Thesis, University Of San Francisco, DAI Vol. 57:04A, p. 1854,  189 pages.

Abstract by author: This ethnographic research endeavored to ask the question, ‘How multiculturally inclusive is the lesbian and gay community?’ Employing the participatory research methodology, the researcher engaged in dialogue with five lesbian and gay leaders from San Francisco’s non-profit sector. Through the ‘dialogic’ process advocated by Freire and Kieffer, the participants and researcher discuss numerous factors which have inhibited or increased the multicultural inclusivity of the lesbian and gay community within and beyond San Francisco. Generally, the participants concluded that the lesbian and gay community does not practice multicultural inclusion. The participants believe that patterns of racial and gender discrimination are as prevalent in the lesbian and gay community as they are in the larger heterosexual society. Six major generative themes were uncovered in the research. These are: inclusion - personal definitions and observations, the media’s effect upon inclusion in the lesbian and gay community, leadership and organizations, the alignment of the lesbian and gay movement to other progressive social movements - dissolving the culture of privacy, the discourse within - a safe place, and the transcendent moment. The participants also offered their suggestions for increasing multicultural inclusion in the lesbian and gay community.  Many of the suggestions offered focused upon the necessary component of dialogue as a tool for increasing intercultural literacy within and without the community. Suggestions for the creation of a ‘gay think tank’ are also mentioned. The review of the literature focuses upon current research into multiculturalism and its relationship to lesbian and gay rights, political theories surrounding democratic discourse, the notion of the ‘gay ethos’ advocated by Blasius, and the fundamental relationship between authenticity, identity, and inclusion in the formation of a truly pluralistic society.  The review also contains a discussion of the social constructionist/essentialist debate surrounding the origin of homosexuality. The research concludes with the reflections of the researcher, a gay Latino scholar, who, as a result of the research, underwent a profound evolution in his views of multicultural inclusion. The reflections speak powerfully to the necessary discourse within oneself so critical to intercultural literacy.

Publication No.   9626312
 

Waring HR (1996). Media system dependency and identity: the development of America's gay and lesbian alternative media and the transformation of homosexuality. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Southern California, DAI Vol. 57-07A, 253 pages.

Abstract: The dissertation explores the relationship between mass media and identity in the context of the development of the gay and lesbian alternative media in the United States since the 1950s and their role in altering the expression of homosexual identity. Two theories are combined - media system dependency (MSD) theory (Ball-Rokeach, 1989) and identity theory (Hewitt, 1989) - to provide a framework for understanding the impact of alternative media on identity. The qualitative, historical analysis of the gay and lesbian media systems, drawing on secondary accounts of subculture, communities, and movement, discusses macro-level MSD relations and the media's role in shaping identity and defining contemporary homosexuality in opposition to mainstream social systems. The analysis considered the changing MSD relations within the communities and social movement with these alternative media, and, examined their functions in the discourse and expression of identity. Throughout the 40-year period, these media continued to provide unique informational resources to groups and organizations of the movement and communities. The quantitative analysis of survey data (N = 242), from a self-completed questionnaire using modified snowball sampling of gays and lesbians from the Seattle region, tests micro-level hypotheses. Survey results do not support a simple relationship between the perception of social ambiguity and environmental threat with respect to identity and the presence of strong individual-media dependency relations (IMD) for self-understanding goals. While social structure has an effect on identity structure, it is not observed in terms of a dichotomy between social and personal identity. Instead, levels of involvement and participation in groups and organizations are related with an activism dimension of identity. Finally, the interaction between media exposure and both self- and social-understanding IMD are not more highly related with the concordance between the individual's identity and media portrayal of homosexuality, than are IMD relations alone. This suggests, rather than a direct interaction effect on identity, the utility of a more processual model where prior perceptions of identity contribute to the informational dependency relations people develop with the media.

Publication No. 9636384
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

  The development of these GLBT information web pages were made possible through the collaboration of Richard Ramsay (Professor, Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary) and Pierre Tremblay (independent researcher, writer, and GLBT children and youth advocate) who both recognize that often needed social changes occur as the result of knowledge availability and dissemination. Additional Information at: Warning, Acknowledgments, Authors.

These GLBTQ Info-Pages were located at the University of Southampton from 2000 to 2003, this being the result of a collaboration with Dr. Chris Bagley, Department of Social Work Studies, University of Southampton.

Graphics are compliments of Websight West. The Synergy Centre donated computer/Internet time to facilitate the construction of this GLBT information site. Both are owned by a Chris Hooymans, a friend, and former publisher of a gay & lesbian magazine in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Chris continues to offer his expertise whenever needed and he has supplied, free of charge, the hosting of the site - Youth Suicide Problems: A Gay / Bisexual Male Focus - where a smaller - GLBTQ Education Section - and the Internet Resource Page for this subject (http://www.youth-suicide.com/gay-bisexual/links8.htm) is located.

Computer time was also supplied by Rick Reist & Glenn Lynas, and Glenn also supplied other forms of assistance.

Many thanks to Wendy Stephens from The Department of Communications Media, University of Calgary.  She communicated with publishers of many academic journals (an ongoing time-consuming process) for permission to reproduce abstracts from papers and studies on these GLBT information web pages.

INFORMATION LIMITATIONS

The information made available on this web page does not represent all the relevant information available on the Internet, nor in professional journals and in other publications.

This web page was constructed to supply a spectrum of information for individuals seeking to understand one or more of the many gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer and transgender issues.

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