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Lagom lika, lagom olika: en diskussion om makt, retorik och bi-teoretiska/sexuella subjektiviteter
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Sociology.
2007 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Moderately similar, moderately different : a discussion of power, rhetorics and bi-theoretical/sexual subjectivities (English)
Abstract [en]

The aim of the dissertation is to discuss the use of various notions of bisexuality – focusing on notions of male bisexuality and openness – in a material from interviews and media. The discussion is set in the perspective rhetoric discursive psychology in relation to bi research as a rhetorical context. The dissertation is intended to be a contribution to both a scientific and a social discussion of bisexuality and bi research, as well as of ideals of openness, moderation and subjectivity. The interview material consists of interviews with men aged between 21 and 31 years who identify as bisexual or have bisexual experiences. The media material consist of articles from Swedish daily newspapers from 1995–2005 where talk of bisexuality is used. I use two different materials in order to demonstrate the rhetorical context’s importance for constructions of subjectivity. Constructions of bisexual subjectivity and the use of talk about bisexuality look different, depending on the rhetorical context in which an individual rhetorician speaks. Definitions play a part in the possibility of talking about oneself as bisexual. In both the media and the interview material, the use of different definitions creates distinctions between different subjects. In the interview material, the creation of distinctions occurs both as regards differences between bisexual subjects and various types of monosexual Other and as regards different sorts of bisexual subject. The use of different definitions serves to bi-normalise certain types of bisexual subject positions and bi-alienate others. In a number of instances, different definitions are used side by side, as they are in the media material. The instances show how a definition or a type of bisexual subjectivity that is bi-alienated in relation to one rhetorical context can equally well be bi-normalised in relation to another. In both the media and the interview material an ideal of moderation is repeatedly used to construct an ideal and an anti-ideal, where the latter is characterised by too little or too much. Moderation serves to express authentic subjectivity, while too little and too much express inauthentic subjectivity. The importance of this lies in its implications for the legitimacy of talk, by which I mean the possibility of claiming to talk from the position of a particular subjectivity and the power to define this subjectivity. Briefly, it is a matter of interpretative privilege – the right to interpret and define experience and to be recognised as a legitimate subject. Subject positions that are constructed as authentic constitute legitimate subjects, while those that are constructed as inauthentic become illegitimate subjects.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: h:ström - Text & Kultur , 2007. , 349 p.
Serie Akademi, ISSN 1653-9575 ; 3
Keyword [en]
bisexual theory, bisexuality, male bisexuality, bisexual men, young men, binormativity, masculinity, sexuality, subjectivity, subject position, ideological dilemmas, interpretative repertoires, moderation, liberal openness, confessional openness, passing, rhetoric social psychology, discursive psychology
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-1207ISBN: 978-91-7327-002-1OAI: diva2:140490
Public defence
2007-03-09, Hörsal F, Humanisthuset, Umeå Universitet, Umeå, 13:15
Available from: 2007-06-19 Created: 2007-06-19Bibliographically approved

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