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Investigating sexuality : a personal review of homosexual behaviour, identities and subcultures in social research

Prestage, Garrett, Sociology, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, UNSW

2002

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  • Title:
    Investigating sexuality : a personal review of homosexual behaviour, identities and subcultures in social research
  • Author/Creator/Curator: Prestage, Garrett, Sociology, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, UNSW
  • Subjects: Homosexuality; Gay men -- Sexual behavior; Sex (Psychology); Sexual behavior surveys
  • Resource type: Thesis
  • Type of thesis: Ph.D.
  • Date: 2002
  • Language: English
  • Permissions: This work can be used in accordance with the Creative Commons BY-NC-ND license.
    Please see additional information at https://library.unsw.edu.au/copyright/for-researchers-and-creators/unsworks

  • Description: This thesis investigates the relationship between identity, behaviour and desire to examine the nature of research among homosexually active men. The hypothesis is that samples of such men necessarily reflect the definitions of sexuality and homosexuality, and their interpretation, by both the researchers themselves and their research subjects, meaning that the research process itself is marked by the subjectivity of the field of sexuality. The relationship between the observer and the observed is intrinsic to research into homosexual subjectivity and the samples obtained, therefore, represent particular kinds of sexual subjects in a particular social and sexual cultural milieu. Research in this field has given pre-eminence to behaviour over identity and desire, and, as such, has usually failed to account for these differences in sexual subjectivities.To investigate this problem, I have reviewed the relevant literature both on subjectivity and on methodological approaches to research among homosexual men, and I have appraised my own ideological and personal relationships with the subject matter. I have examined the nature of the samples of homosexual men I have obtained during my work as a researcher within the Sydney gay community and reanalysed these with regard to the particular problematic I have identified.These investigations and analyses have shown that there are numerous differences within and between the various samples of homosexual men obtained, indicating that methodological frameworks can determine the nature of the samples obtained. These differences in samples also appear to reflect differences in the ways of enacting homosexual desire among the men in the studies. However, they also parallel differences in the definitions and understandings of the target population by the researchers themselves.These differences reflect differences in definition and understanding both of homosexuality and of the population of gay men, but they also represent differing patterns in the ways of being and living ?gay?, differences in sexual subjectivity. ?Gayness? and homosexuality, as concepts in research, are both the subjective basis on which the research endeavour itself is based, as well as its representational outcome.

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