Transgender identities and narrativity: Performativity, agency corporeality
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)
A study of transgender embodiment provides a unique vantage point from which to examine how people take up, and are constituted by, ideas about sex and gender. Discontinuities between the anatomical bodies and social identities of transgendered people trouble conventional understandings about bodies and selves. At the same time people who use gender reassignment technologies attach considerable authority to normalising discourses about bodies and identities, masculinity and femininity. This thesis explores subjectivity, agency, citizenship and community through analyses of conversations with 'transgendered' people in Australia and New Zealand. The thesis consists of distinct but interrelated essays that explore the relationship between global technologies and the local achievement of identities. It illustrates how conversations about identity in transgendered social spaces are also discussions about the medicalisation of sex and gender and the social/institutional expectations associated with particular gender identities. Attention to the situated dimensions of social interaction suggests that it is not just discourses, but also corporeality and spaces, that make certain subject positions available to actors. Holding 'public stories' and the particularistic features of personal narratives in play, I argue that both stories and identities emerge from interaction - shifting and changing according to the spaces and times in which they are embedded.