Racialised lesbian spaces: a Mancunian ethnography

Held, Nina (2011) Racialised lesbian spaces: a Mancunian ethnography. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Lancaster University.

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This thesis seeks to understand the relationship between sexuality, ‘race’ and space within the context of urban night-time leisure spaces for women. It is informed by and draws on different fields: sexual geographies, critical ‘race’ scholarship, feminist and queer theories, studies on whiteness, postmodern spatial theories. The intellectual roots of this thesis lie in black feminist theories of gender, ‘race’ and sexuality (and class) as intersecting categories and fields of experience. The thesis draws on poststructuralist approaches that theorise sexuality and ‘race’ as discursively and performatively produced. It argues that ‘race’ and sexuality are mutually constitutive categories and that they can only be understood in relation to each other.

The ethnographic fieldwork of this study is carried out in specific sexualised spaces, namely two lesbian bars in Manchester’s Gay Village. Through participant observations in those bars and qualitative interviews with women who identify as lesbian and bisexual and white, mixed-race, black and East Asian, the thesis explores the role of ‘race’ in the construction of lesbian bodies and spaces and how sexuality, ‘race’ and space work together in shaping subjectivities.

The aims of this study are manifold: to develop an understanding of how practices of inclusion and exclusion work in leisure spaces designed to meet the needs of a marginalised group; to find new ways of understanding ‘race’ and sexuality by looking at their spatial relationship; to contribute to debates on sexuality and space by investigating how space is simultaneously sexualised and racialised; to contribute to existing research on whiteness through an exploration of how different forms of whiteness spatially intersect with sexuality.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Keywords: 'race', space, sexuality, intersectionality
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Sociology
Depositing User: Nina Held
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2016 06:57
Last Modified: 04 Oct 2016 06:57
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/63784

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