Being transsexual: self, identity and embodied subjectivity.

Johnson, Katherine (2001) Being transsexual: self, identity and embodied subjectivity. PhD thesis, Middlesex University.

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Abstract

In this research I employ an interdisciplinary approach in order to theorize the experience of Being Transsexual and to reflect upon current debates in critical social psychology about such notions as `self, `identity' and `embodied subjectivity'. Seven male-to-female and seven female-to-male individuals who identified as either transsexual or gender transition. A pluralistic methodological approach, drawing upon the principles of discourse analysis and phenomenology, was used to analyse the interviews. I argue that whilst Cartesian dualist constructions of transsexualism regulate the binary gender system they fail to account for the complex process of identifications which the transsexual subject has to negotiate. Transsexual subjects are never completely free from their past experiences, past selves, past relationships or previous practices of embodiment. To varying degrees, these all undermine any new-found sense of gender confirmation. Consequently, I argue that Being Transsexual entails the ongoing process of becoming `male' or `female'. In a move towards a theory of embodied subjectivity, it is suggested that any transition in subjective experiences of gender is intrinsically tied to and nseparable from shifts in gendered embodiment. Finally, I argue that affiliations between transgendered and gay and lesbian communities should be strengthened in order to challenge the regulatory practices of heterosexual normativity, thus enabling individuals to live more ambiguous modes of gendered subjectivity.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:

A thesis submitted to Middlesex University in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

Research Areas:Masters and Doctorates > Theses
Middlesex University Schools and Centres > School of Health and Education > Health & Education
ID Code:6635
Deposited On:19 Oct 2010 14:03
Last Modified:18 Jul 2014 14:52

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