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Surviving in dangerous places: Lesbian identity performances in the workplace, social class and psychological health

McDermott, E. (2006) Surviving in dangerous places: Lesbian identity performances in the workplace, social class and psychological health. Feminism and Psychology, 16 ( 2). pp. 193-211. ISSN 0959-3535

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Abstract

This article examines the ways in which the psychological health of women may be influenced by workplace sexual identity performances and social class positioning. It draws on UK research through in-depth interviews with 24 women who self-defined as mainly lesbian and/or gay. The article demonstrates that, for the women in the study, sexual identity performances at work involved negotiating employment settings that render heterosexuality compulsory and thus lesbian/gay performances a risk. As a result, the women engaged in risk-assessment strategies that were psychologically demanding. The women's narratives also suggest that the psychological effects of managing an ‘othered’ sexual identity in work was mediated by social class. The working-class women were more likely to be employed in settings where heterosexuality was heavily regulated and their ‘practices of survival’ were potentially more detrimental to their psychological health.

Item Type: Article
Institution: The University of York
Academic Units: The University of York > Social Policy and Social Work (York)
Depositing User: York RAE Import
Date Deposited: 07 Jul 2009 14:14
Last Modified: 07 Jul 2009 14:14
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0959-353506062977
Status: Published
Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd
Identification Number: 10.1177/0959-353506062977
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/6153

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