Acting like a professional: identity dilemmas for gay men

Rumens, Nick (2005) Acting like a professional: identity dilemmas for gay men. In: Genealogies of identity: interdisciplinary readings on sex and sexuality. Breen, Margaret Sönser and Peters, Fiona, eds. At the Interface / Probing the Boundaries, 26 . Rodopi, Amsterdam, pp. 221-236. ISBN 9789042017580. [Book Section]


The purpose of this chapter is to explore the discursive nature of how gay men make sense of themselves at one and the same time as professionals and gay men within the workplace. Ideas of professionalism and the ideal of being professional are set out within these pages as discursive resources that can be made use of by gay men handling identity issues in relation to sexuality, work and normality. I use a Foucauldian influenced approach to understanding how identities are discursively constituted to examine how ten openly gay men working in one National Health Services (NHS) Trust in the UK draw on available discourses to (re)interpret who they are and manage the tensions arising from how co-workers might seek to fix their identities in terms of sexuality.1 I take as the object of central investigation, the normalising effects of discourses which determine who and what is viewed as normal and acceptable in the workplace. I argue that the attribution of being normal may be accomplished through professionalism. As a mechanism for the operation of normalising processes, professionalism especially articulates and reinforces specific gender conventional displays of masculinity among gay men.

Item Type: Book Section
Research Areas: A. > Business School > Leadership, Work and Organisations
Item ID: 12121
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Depositing User: Nick Aston
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2013 06:15
Last Modified: 09 Oct 2017 10:52

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