'Like a playground should be?' Experiencing and Producing Bi Subjectivities in Bisexual Space.

Bowes-Catton, Helen Talitha (2016). 'Like a playground should be?' Experiencing and Producing Bi Subjectivities in Bisexual Space. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000c67a

URL: https://helenbowescatton.files.wordpress.com/2016/...


Much recent work on bisexual subjectivities has taken a discourse analytic approach to exploring how bisexual identity is discursively produced as paradoxical, and why it is so difficult to articulate a culturally intelligible bisexual subjectivity. This thesis responds to such work by suggesting that a move towards a multi-modal methodological approach, with a focus on the features of the lifeworld, might enable participants to articulate accounts of bisexual subjectivity as experienced in material, spatial, embodied, temporal, and intersubjective, terms. Accordingly, the thesis asks the question ‘how are bisexual subjectivities experienced and produced in bisexual spaces?’

Fieldwork was conducted at a BiCon, UK bisexual convention, in 2008, and the data presented here is based on the results of two studies which used creative and visual methods (photography, mapping, and modelling) to elicit discourse about lived experiences of bisexual subjectivity in a bisexual space, and how these related to everyday life. A hermeneutic phenomenological approach was taken to the analysis of the data produced.

The study argues that the everyday bisexual subject, as constructed in dominant cultural discourses, can be theorised as a Trickster figure, characterised by excess and inauthenticity. BiCon, meanwhile, can be theorised as a heterotopic place-event, during which bisexuality is held constant as the default sexual identity within the space. This provides BiCon attendees with an opportunity to temporality resolve the paradox of bisexual subjectivity. For some participants, BiCon serves as a carnivalesque space where they can enjoy a brief respite from the contradictions of bisexuality. For others, BiCon is a place to gather resources for personal and social transformation.

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