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By Yvette Taylor

This can be an unique research of ladies self-identified as working-class and lesbian, exhibiting the importance of sophistication and sexuality of their biographies, daily lives and identities. It presents perception, a critique of queer thought and an empirical interrogation of the embodied, spatial and fabric intersection of sophistication and sexuality.

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Additional info for Working-Class Lesbian Life: Classed Outsiders

Sample text

Similarly, Weston (1995) reveals the connection between ‘coming-out’, developing a gay identity, and becoming a ‘sophisticated’ city dweller. This 22 Working-Class Lesbian Life requires access, both culturally and economically, to these spaces and positions. While Knopp (1995) notes that those who feel distanced from the scene are quick to castigate it for being exploitative, it is necessary to criticise the way in which this space is structured and maintained – pro-capitalist discourses and practices facilitate many structures of oppression and someone’s ‘leisure’ space may be another’s work space (Skeggs, 1999; Hennessy, 2000).

Yet divisions are already in place and sustained by those with the cultural and economic resources who can regulate the boundaries of inclusion into scene space. In terms of embodied appearances ‘The importance of dress as a signifier of sexual identity, and of looking as a social, identifying and sexualized activity … is crucial for a recognisable identity and structurally central to the theorisation of marginal identities’ (Lewis and Rolley quoted in Holliday, 1999: 489). 16 Furthermore, sexual subjects are not just, if at all, located in ‘queer communities’; not so much a divisive manoeuvre as a pervasive reality.

They examine discourses of ‘resistance’ and ‘self-invention’ in contemporary stories of intimacy and look at the ways these sentiments and ideas generate well-being, both emotionally and practically. In this respect they deploy the notion of social capital but in a different way from that developed by Bourdieu (1984), using it to highlight Reviewing the Literature 29 strategies of networking and community building and the generation of ‘reflexive’, self-consciously created non-heterosexual communities.

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