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ERIC Number: ED569022
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 226
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3038-7515-1
Identit(ies) and Agency: College Students' Navigations of Sexuality and Gender in Complex Figured Worlds
Chesanko, Melissa M.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, West Virginia University
In this study I conducted individual and focus group interviews in order to understand the ways in which students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) perceive the campus climate at West Virginia University and in what ways their experiences are shaped by that climate. Campus climate is defined as "the cumulative attitudes, behaviors, and standards of employees and students concerning access for, inclusion of, and level of respect for individual and group needs, abilities, and potential" (Rankin, 2006, p. 7). The campus climate for students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) at a university is shaped not only by individual interactions, but through inclusion in curriculum, existence of LGBTQ-specific support, domestic partner benefits, policies on non-discrimination, equal opportunity, and housing, among other factors. By taking an intersectional approach that considers the ways in which sexuality, race, gender, class, and other identity markers come together, this research uses a framework that draws especially from identity and agency in cultural worlds (Holland, 1998), from which to understand the ways in which individual student experiences are shaped, influenced, created, reflected, and/or formed in relation to the climate that they perceive. Rather than viewing identity through a singular lens, the term identit(ies) shows the ways in which multiple aspects of one's identity comes together to form one's complete identity, expressing simultaneously the components and the whole. There was much to be learned from this study, in the categories of curriculum findings, figured world findings, and identity findings. This study found that the collective lens of curriculum is greater than the individual lens and the role of a single person in improving curricular inclusion. It also found that students self-author in figured worlds and that the figured world of gender non-conforming students is substandard. Finally, the study found that non-monosexual students occupy position identities and that agency is dependent on intersectional access. The study carries implications that are divided into three categories, that of conceptual implications, methodological implications, and practical implications. The conceptual implications of this study include: language implications, climate influences whole person identity, exclusion from curriculum is political, and that dialogue is capable of generating critical thinking. The methodological implications include participant advertising and selection, structured post focus group feedback, researcher identity and interaction implications. The practical implications include: supporting trans* and gender non-conforming students, supporting the cultural worlds of panels, providing spaces for reflection, and supporting a whole person identity. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: West Virginia