Telling lesbian stories: interviewing and the class dynamics of 'talk'

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This paper explores the unseen ways in which the power relations of class may influence the 'telling' of lesbian stories in research interviews. It draws on in-depth interviews with 24 self-defined lesbians in a UK study investigating the effects of sexual identity and social class on psychosocial health. Utilising Bourdieu's conceptualisation of social class, the class differences which arose in the talk of the lesbians interviewed are analysed across three areas: class discourses, linguistic capital and class habitus. In doing so, it is suggested that the research interview opens up spaces for articulation which facilitate the narratives of lesbians from more privileged class positions but which are less inviting spaces for the telling of lesbian stories from disadvantaged class positions. The paper concludes that attention must be paid to 'classed' talking practices to ensure that the stories of lesbians with the least social advantages are heard. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
JournalWomen's Studies International Forum
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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