Remembering My Hat

18th September 2012

Bi erasure

Filed under: Uncategorized — rememberingmyhat @ 18:24
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One of the things we talk about in The Bisexuality Report is the way that bisexuality gets erased as a legitimate sexual identity when people tack ‘and bisexual people’ on when they are really talking about lesbian and gay people. It’s often quite subtle.

For example, the opening three sentences of this Stonewall UK page about families and parenting are:

Gay men, lesbians and bisexual people have been parents for a long time. Some have children from a previous heterosexual relationship, some adopt and others become foster parents. More recently, LGB people have entered into surrogacy agreements and co-parenting arrangements.

The first sentence sets the scene and establishes the important point that queer parenting is nothing new. The second sentence lists the ways in which this has happened for many years. The third talks about more recent ways of forming queer families [1]. But the second sentence ignores the possibility that bi people may have different-sex partners with whom they conceive biological children. Their experience is made invisible by this list of ways in which LGB people become parents.

(cc) KristinNador

Or does it mean to imply that you’re not really queer if you have a different sex partner? That the ‘B’ in ‘LGB’ only covers bi people who are currently in same sex relationships? Are you in ‘a heterosexual relationship’ if your partner is a different sex? Some people who experience attraction to more than one gender might define themselves as heterosexual when they are in a monogamous different sex relationship, but others do not.

It’s not enough to tack ‘and bisexual’ on to something that is really about lesbians and gay men. Taking bisexuality seriously makes things more complicated – you have to think about the distinctions between identity, attraction and behaviour more, for a start [2]. But surely that’s a better way of thinking about such a multi-faceted  and changing thing as human sexuality.

[1] The historian in me is suspicious of the claim that co-parenting has happened only recently. Likewise, surrogacy, depending on what you mean by that term.
[2] As I’ve written about here: Jones, R. L. (2010). Troubles with bisexuality in health and social care. In R. L. Jones & R. Ward (Eds.), LGBT issues: Looking beyond categories (pp. 42-55). Edinburgh: Dunedin Academic Press.

6th September 2012

Ethnomethodology and record-keeping

Filed under: Uncategorized — rememberingmyhat @ 17:30
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(cc) Nimages DR

(not actually my desk)

I have tidied my desk! I usually do this as a rite-of-passage at the end of a major piece of work, by which stage my desk is about 6 inches deep in papers. This time, I also dealt with the piles of paper that I have lugged through three office moves, many of them dating back to my post-doc job in 2003. I made a policy decision that I will no longer keep paper copies of articles once I have finished using them (with a few exceptions for papers I am always citing and ones that are hard to get hold of electronically).

But I feel a little anxious about ‘losing’ all those references, most of which are not in my Endnote collection. Even though having them in a two-foot pile did not really make them accessible in any meaningful sense. In particular, I don’t want to lose some of the really interesting papers in areas I am no longer researching (but conceivably might in the future). 

So, just a note to my imagined future self, who wants to do something more around record-keeping and/or protocol-based care, in a vaguely ethnomethodological kind of vein:

  • Marc Berg and/or Stefan Timmermans do really good stuff
  • Lucy Suchmann (now at Lancaster, it seems) does too. Not just Xerox, also pilots and other settings
  • Trace (2002) ‘What is recorded is never simply what happened’ 
  • Paul ten Have (1995) overview of medical ethnomethodology
  • and, of course, the grandaddy of the field, Garfinkel’s ‘Good organisational reasons for bad clinical records’

If ethnomethodology is defined as “the study of members’ methods for producing recognizable social order/s” (Rawls, 2000) it is, of course, entirely suitable that I re-encountered these readings while producing a socially recognisable tidy desk.

(cc) reway2007

(Also not my desk)

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