The Space and Place of Sexuality: How Rural Lesbians and Gays Narrate Identity.
|dc.contributor.author||Kazyak, Emily A.||en_US|
|dc.description.abstract||In contrast to cultural narratives that link gay and lesbian sexualities to urban spaces, recent research points to the increasing geographical diversity of gays and lesbians in non-urban locales. Drawing on data from sixty interviews with rural gays and lesbians, in this dissertation, I analyze how rural gays and lesbians construct sexual identities in order to assess how people make sense of and modify cultural narratives. This dissertation contributes to empirical knowledge about rural gays and lesbians. Rather than privileging their rural identity over their gay identity, this work illustrates how rural gays and lesbians shift cultural meanings about gay sexualities. Far from remaining closeted in order to enjoy small town life, people draw on their attachments to small town life to make sense of their identities. In their stories about what it means to be out, visible, and accepted – people draw on narratives about being known as a good person, having long-standing ties to the community, and living in a context where word travels fast through close-knit networks. Thus, my work documents how rurality produces rather than constrains the construction of gay and lesbian sexualities. This dissertation also contributes to knowledge of rural gays and lesbians in its interrogation of how class and gender shape their experiences. In addition to its empirical contributions, this work also extends theoretical literature that focuses on how queer theory and sociological theories can be synthesized. Its findings illustrate how sexual identity categories, shaping more than desires or bodies, are constructed through their attachment to non-sexual meanings. Indeed, the urban-rural binary is still salient in constituting gay identities. Differences among gays and lesbians, including things like marital status and being active in politics, are understood as connected to rural-urban differences. As people make sense of their sexual identity, they are also constructing a sense of who they are and will be. Combining insights from queer theory and pragmatism allows for an engagement with questions about how same-sex sexuality is attached to non-sexual meanings and how people make sense of and shift these attachments in their everyday lives.||en_US|
|dc.subject||Gay and Lesbian||en_US|
|dc.title||The Space and Place of Sexuality: How Rural Lesbians and Gays Narrate Identity.||en_US|
|dc.description.thesisdegreegrantor||University of Michigan, Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies||en_US|
|dc.contributor.committeemember||Martin, Karin A.||en_US|
|dc.contributor.committeemember||Hubbs, Nadine M.||en_US|
|dc.contributor.committeemember||Rubin, Gayle S.||en_US|
|dc.contributor.committeemember||Somers, Margaret R.||en_US|
|dc.contributor.committeemember||Young, Jr., Alford A.||en_US|
|dc.owningcollname||Dissertations and Theses (Ph.D. and Master's)|
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