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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Lived experiences of gay men with HIV: Intersections of portraiture, narrative and engagement
by Leary, David Andrew, Ph.D., University of Southern California, 2011, 329; 3477936
Abstract (Summary)

This qualitative research utilizes narrative as a way to explore the experiences of five gay men living with HIV. Their membership in this marginalized group presents particular challenges to engagement in meaningful activities or occupations. The innovative methodology known as portraiture is used, drawing on phenomenological and ethnographic foundations. This method joins the empirical and the aesthetic; creating a narrative that brings together the careful description of good ethnography with the evocative resonance of fine literature. The interviews and participant observations in the study are guided by portraiture; while the additional lenses of narrative and experience contribute to the thematic analysis. Through these complementary approaches, a narrative portrait of each man is created and emergent themes are presented. These themes include uncertainty with medications and side effects which serve as constant reminders of their HIV status. Their reliance on social supports and adaptations to routines provides a sense of control over their lives. Their narratives include a rich diversity in self understandings deeply intertwined in their coming out as gay, the awareness of their HIV status, and their experiences of their body. The development of multiple identities is an ongoing process that is situated in a larger context of social relatedness. The men search for ways to make sense of the death of friends, their fear of their own sickness and death, and their possible future lives with HIV. These experiences of loss are expressed, negotiated, and narrated through the appropriation of metaphors and engagement in social action. The use of narrative itself, becomes a cultural resource for these men. The importance of aesthetic representations and the power of performance is emphasized through a microanalysis of a particular concert experience. The intersections of portraiture, narrative and engagement provide a deeper understanding of the complexity of the lived experiences of these five men.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lawlor, Mary C.
Commitee: Blanche, Erna, Mattingly, Cheryl, Moore, G. Alexander, Neville-Jan, Ann
School: University of Southern California
Department: Occupational Science
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 73/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social research, LGBTQ studies, Occupational Therapy
Keywords: Ethnography, Gay, HIV/AIDS, Men, Narrative, Occupation, Portraiture
Publication Number: 3477936
ISBN: 978-1-124-95066-2
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