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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Borders that matter: Trans identity management
by Kelly, Reese C., Ph.D., State University of New York at Albany, 2012, 279; 3524062
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation presents the responses, strategies, and meaning-making processes that forty trans (transgender) people engaged in when confronted with or when preparing for the possibility of encountering two different types of identity checkpoints, or what I regard as "borders": situations where sexed bodies and presentations of self would be matched against identity documents or records, and the use or attempted use of sex-segregated facilities. The project addresses the questions: In what ways do trans people prepare for and respond to identity inspections in border crossing scenarios? What strategies do they employ in order to successfully border cross? What effect does identity misrecognition or invalidation have on trans lives?

This work provides a new model and language for conceptualizing the ongoing and interactive process of trans identity management, featuring the following terms I developed: border-crossing, administrative recognition, threatened subjects, threatening subjects, strategic normativity, and strategic hybridity. I argue that there is no clear and coherent trans identity narrative. Instead, trans people strategically choose which practices and narratives to mobilize depending on each situation they encounter. Overall, my work contributes to the fields of sociology, feminist, queer, and transgender studies, and more broadly, to surveillance studies, biopolitics, and theories of cultural identity.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Seidman, Steve
Commitee: Currah, Paisley, Moorti, Sujata, Spitze, Glenna
School: State University of New York at Albany
Department: Sociology
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 74/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: LGBTQ studies, Social structure, Gender studies
Keywords: Borders, Identity management, Intersectionality, Performativity, Queer, Strategic normativity, Transgender
Publication Number: 3524062
ISBN: 978-1-267-58128-0
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