• Why all the Anxiety? Exploring ‘the Horror’ of the Darkest Interior in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and the Adventure Narrative

      Hall, Leonora (University of Chester, 2015)
      This dissertation sets out to prove that anxiety in Heart of Darkness arises because ‘heroic’ behaviour abroad inevitably transgresses the values which inform Victorian masculine identities, thereby undermining them. The premise is based on the strong links between fin-de-siècle adventure stories set within the empire and notions of Victorian masculinity, with the main focus on Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness (1899), whilst drawing on late-nineteenth-century texts from Stevenson, Rider Haggard, Kipling, Conan Doyle and Stoker, as well as the real-life derring-do of Henry Morton Stanley. This dissertation shows that degenerative behaviour set within the colonial space, where empire and masculine authority ‘permitted’ violence, is a necessary part of the male hero’s rite de passage, and such behaviour can be viewed as attractive and forgivable. The conventional/transgressive identity of colonial adventurers is explored through Marlow, with Kurtz offering Marlow the opportunity to experience, in extremis, the dilemmas and struggles which reside within the ‘self’. This dissertation shows how the anxiety in Heart of Darkness is not just discovering and embracing the ability to transgress, but it arises from the undoing of an idealised fiction of heroic masculinity by offering a horrific alternative: the ‘triumphant darkness’ within. In extending the reasoning of reverse colonization so that the returning hero becomes the agent of decay on home soil, this dissertation claims that anxiety is manifold in fin-de-siècle imperial adventure narratives, not only from embracing transgressive behaviour which undermines the ideals of the Victorian adventure hero’s identity, but also from the threat to the very foundations of society, because the returning hero brings his barbarian behaviour home with him and, either in action, through finding his new identity no longer fits within societal norms, or through the intended reader; he corrupts his society.
    • ‘With whom shall I identify?’: Nineteenth-Century Representations of Parental Influences and Adolescent Identity Formation

      Ravenscroft, Michelle D. (University of Chester, 2018-11-26)
      This inter-disciplinary research considers cultural influences, such as religion and education, on adolescent identity formation and parental role-models in nineteenth-century texts. Definitions and representations of constructed identities are explored in relation to the influence of cultural factors using twentieth-century psychological, sociological and psychiatric theories surrounding adolescent and parental identity. Representations of adolescent experiences and parental influences within the home and society reflect changing attitudes towards shifting gender boundaries throughout the century. The conflict of changing family dynamics, in relation to parental roles and authority, are also considered with regards to how these influence the adolescent during this critical life-stage. The conflict and crisis involved in the process of adolescent identity formation is linked to the need for the adolescent to identify with a successful role-model. The analysis of representations of socially constructed role-models in the nineteenth-century suggests there are many factors that determine the success or failure of an adopted identity. This research supports the theory that the concept of a problematic adolescence is not borne out of the inability of adolescents to form an identity, rather the inability of nineteenth-century parents to provide a stable, positive and successful role-model, and the adolescent’s increasing awareness of this instability and their need for an individual identity. Representations support the argument that the growing pressure of individual responsibility for life-choices throughout the nineteenth century also increases the conflict and crisis of the adolescent experience and creates an adolescent desire for autonomy to realise their full potential.
    • Working with suicide: An exploration of the tensions that may exist if counsellors’ beliefs and agency suicide policy conflict

      Jones, Elaine (University of Chester, 2015-10)
      This research explores the experiences of counsellors working with suicidal clients with a focus on how counsellors respond to, and are affected by, a suicide policy with which they have disagreements. A comprehensive review of the literature was conducted. Four counsellors who have tensions with their agency’s suicide policy were interviewed and their experiences explored. The data was analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. The research concludes that counsellors who would otherwise feel confident in their work with suicidal clients feel anxious and concerned for the safety of their clients as a result of working within a policy that feels inadequate. The research also demonstrates that counsellors feel isolated when in this position and points to the need for counsellor organisations, such as the BACP, to provide a forum in which such issues can be addressed. The research has also resulted in the production of suggestions as to how policy could be improved and demonstrated that the implementation of these changes would alleviate the stress felt by counsellors and provide more support to clients experiencing a suicidal crisis. In addition the conclusions of the research suggest, controversially, that it is ethical for counsellors to breach policy if they believe that the policy does not have the best interest of the client at its heart, and if it does not protect the client in times of crisis.
    • The year of mutinies: An analysis of the naval mutinies at Spithead and the Nore in 1797

      Mackie, Philip D. (University of Chester, 2010)
      The so-called "great naval mutinies of 1797" marked a significant turning point in Royal Navy history. The events of that year sent shockwaves through the navy and fundamentally altered the attitudes of officers towards their crews, and vice versa, giving ordinary seamen a new voice over issues concerning their pay, victuals, and treatment by those above.
    • Young people's perceptions of their experience of counselling in a school setting: A qualitative study

      Le'Surf, Anne; Bassett, Linda (University of Liverpool (University of Chester), 2007-10)
      This study examines young peoples’ experiences of counselling in a school setting. Five young people who received counselling in their school were interviewed individually and their responses analysed using the constant comparative method. The results highlight four particular areas that would be helpful to address if a school were considering setting up a counselling service. The findings emphasise the importance young people place on autonomy around the disclosure of the fact they are attending counselling, as well as the actual content of counselling sessions. They suggest that many young people would prefer to have counselling in their school, rather than at another venue. The young people interviewed identify certain qualities in the counsellor that facilitate an effective counselling relationship, and finally how many of their peers were unaware of the nature and existence of a counselling service in their school. The relevance of the outcomes to the effective counselling of young people are discussed.
    • Young, single and treated for breast cancer: Making sense of my sexuality - An exploration of women’s stories

      Gubi, Peter M.; Shortt, Susan (University of Chester, 2014-10)
      This qualitative study explores the experiences of four young, single women, who were diagnosed with breast cancer, and examines the impact of this on their sexuality, during and post-treatment. The data was gathered using semi-structured interviews, and analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Emerging themes included identity loss during treatment, differing degrees of adjustment to an altered body post-treatment, and concerns around dating and new relationships. Although each participant was clearly moving forward in positive ways, ongoing emotional losses were also described, including those related to fertility. Findings largely support earlier work in this area, although there have been very few studies with this particular sub-group of women. One finding that differed from other research was the universal acceptance by prospective partners of participants’ altered bodies.
    • "You’re in the boxing ring and it’s just the two of you and it’s sort of survival" - The quest for excitement in professional female Muay Thai boxing

      Pritchard, Ian; Phipps, Catherine (University of Chester, 2013-09)
      Using a figurational sociological approach, this research analyses the motivations of professional female Muay Thai boxers in training and competition, and ways in which they negotiate their elite status in a male-associated sport. To do this, I draw on fourteen semi-structured interviews to analyse the extent to which females in Muay Thai experience a quest for excitement. It is suggested females are motivated to participate as the sport acts as an emotional and physical outlet and is used as a means to gain mimetic satisfactions which men have originally acquired through sports. The participants in this study experienced pleasurable, de-routinising satisfactions associated with taking part in an activity that is considered male-dominated and masculine. Female Muay Thai boxers’ experiences of the quest for excitement also incorporate a desire for gender equality by resisting traditional female roles which are often more routinised, and feminine-appropriate sports which can lack in physical contact. Although they experienced enjoyment through their involvement in a male-associated sport, participants often placed emphasis on their femininity to counteract their success. Overall it is argued females can experience a specifically gendered quest for excitement in Muay Thai which differs to men’s experiences. This research supplements the minimal existing research on females in martial arts and serves as a comparison to literature on men’s and women’s experiences of the quest for excitement.
    • Untitled

      Rowland, Caroline; Shaw, Peter A. (University of Chester, 2011-06)
      This is the supporting documentation submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy by publication. The research issues addressed were the extent to which the four Vs of vision, values, value-added and vitality are pre-requisites for an individual to be able to step up successfully into demanding leadership roles, and at times of major change, what are the key requirements that enable an individual to continue to step up into demanding, leadership roles successfully and sustain that success? The proposition which has been tested in a wide range of contexts is that leaders step up successfully if they apply a balance of the four Vs of vision, values, value-added and vitality. The research concluded that continuing to step up successfully and sustaining that success involves a clear focus on coherence, context, courage and co-creation. It is the active interplay between these two sets of requirements which determine whether a leader is able to cope successfully with demanding leadership challenges in a sustained way. This relationship is illustrated in the diagram below. The research was based on an exploratory approach which was inductive whereby the perspectives of a wide range of senior leaders were sought both in terms of their experiences and what was observed. The research also included an element of auto-ethnography. The approach of the four Vs was published in the book, “The Four Vs of Leadership: vision, values, value-added and vitality”. This framework was tested with a wide range of senior level leaders in different sectors. The rigorous use of this framework was then applied to develop clarity of thinking in areas such as career choices, decision-making, business coaching and the taking on of new opportunities which were set out in a sequence of subsequent books. The interplay of the four Vs and four Cs has contributed to the leadership impact of a range of senior leaders at times when they have been handling rapid change. The work furthers understanding about sustaining leadership effectively through times of turbulence.