Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Beyond the binary: Identity, subjectivity, and the sexual borderlands
by Callis, April Scarlette, Ph.D., Purdue University, 2011, 280; 3479320
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation investigates the tensions between hegemonic systems of classification and emergent categories by focusing on sexualities in the U.S. that exist in the borderland between heterosexuality and homosexuality. Though sexuality has been understood as a binary in U.S. society for over a century (Rubin 1984, Weeks 1985, Lancaster 2003), identities that are neither hetero- nor homosexual are beginning to emerge, becoming more visible in popular culture (Udis-Kessler 1996, Rust 2000). Recurring bisexual characters on popular television shows, the inclusion of “bisexual” to organization names, and the popularity of the initialism GLBT are just a few examples of this visibility. Situated between more normative and thus intelligible sexualities, non-binary identities such as bisexual, queer, and pansexual provide a critical site for the investigation of how sexual identity is both constructed and de/reconstructed. This dissertation examines how individuals draw on various strands of discourse to substantiate, negotiate or reject labels that fall outside of societal norms. By asking how participants conceptualize these sexualities, I address the ways that emergent identities are placed in and possibly refigure schemas of sexuality, creating an emic map of sexuality in the United States.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Blackwood, Evie
Commitee: Anderson, Myrdene, Decker, Alicia, Gruenbaum, Ellen
School: Purdue University
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: DAI-A 73/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, GLBT Studies
Keywords: Bisexuality, Sexual identity, Sexuality
Publication Number: 3479320
ISBN: 978-1-124-97629-7
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