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Sexual citizenship beyond the metropolis: Bareback sex, chemsex and loneliness in a rural county in the United Kingdom

Driscoll-Evans, P R (2020) Sexual citizenship beyond the metropolis: Bareback sex, chemsex and loneliness in a rural county in the United Kingdom. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

Sociological research into the experiences of LGBTQ individuals in the global North is dominated by a focus on those residing in urban centres. Consequently, this thesis argues, the lives of men who have sex with men (MSM) living in rural communities is under- represented in social research. In examining the experience of a cohort of MSM residing outside of a metropolitan centre in the United Kingdom this research provides an original contribution to the body of knowledge held in this field. An explorative approach is adopted in the research, specifically seeking to address the men’s ability to experience liberation of conduct, identity and relationship formation. These three domains adhere to the concept of sexual citizenship, as defined by Diane Richardson (2000); a theoretical framework that underpins all aspects of this thesis. A post-structuralist methodological position, recognising the value of the participant narrative, forms an epistemological foundation for the research. Semi-structured interviews and ethnographic observations made during a period of participant observation were utilised in data collection. Recognising the close relationship between sexual citizenship and geography, findings are presented with an acute awareness of location, context, researcher positionality and the privileged access this facilitates. The research concludes that residing in a rural community has a significant, negative impact on the experience of sexual citizenship among the participants. This manifests in experiencing a sense of social isolation, impacting all three rights domains. The research also identifies that the men engage in behaviours that can be framed as ‘actions of resistance’ against such citizenship constraints. These include embracing digital spatialities to aid relationship formation and engaging in bareback sex/chemsex. The ‘actions of resistance’ identified are explored in each of the thesis’ analysis chapters, with careful consideration given to intersections with the concept of homonormativity, a good/bad citizenship binary and public health policy setting.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
Depositing User: Paul Driscoll-Evans
Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2020 12:32
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2020 12:32
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/28891

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