Browsing Social and Political Science by Subjects
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An inquiry into adult adoptees’ journeying with their sexualityThis multi-layered and multi-perspective inquiry focuses on adult adoptees’ sense-making of, and presentation of, their sexuality and self/identity. It is situated firmly within postmodern and social constructionist traditions, whereby both the personal/particular and social/shared dimensions of experiences are negotiated, disenfranchised/marginalised voices are privileged, and the distinctions between, research, art and therapy are disrupted. Due to the adoptees being placed in, and conceived as, marginalised group members, their local and marginalised voices are privileged within this thesis. The aims of this research were: To gain access to, and gather, adult adoptee’s personal narratives/stories around the subject of their sexuality, their sexual identity and their adoption; To give ‘voice’ to adult adoptees around the subject of sexuality and adoption; To represent, and then present, these narratives/stories, honouring both the individual particulars of ‘lived experience’ and also to highlight any shared thematic qualities of the participants. A bricolage approach was used, using Kinchloe and Berry’s (2004) formalised theoretical concept of the ‘POET’ (the point of entry text). To capture the multiplicity of the research, and the POETs, a three-phase approach was applied. Phase one incorporated my auto-ethnographic account, of my lived experience of sexuality as an adoptee, through an analysis of my narratives and poems. Phase two explored the participants’ understanding, and presentation of, their sexuality from the analysis of their interview data. These data were analysed through a heuristic approach, developing individual depictions, a group depiction and then a final creative synthesis. In phase three, an interpretative phenomenological analysis, was applied to highlight thematic individual and shared themes of the participants’ data, to present a more structured and thematic representation. The data from phase one, two and three, highlighted the vulnerability, and cultural socio-political constructs, that can affect the self-formation and sexuality of an adoptee. The data from phase three established four superordinate themes: 1. Sexual attitudes, 2. Vulnerability, 3. The ‘Other’, and 4. The Feminine. The research demonstrates that adult adoptees, as vulnerable, are more open and susceptible to external influence regarding their sexuality and self-formation, and proposes an ‘inherent potential toward vulnerability’ within the adoptee. Therefore, there is a relationship between the adoptee, as inherently vulnerable, and how they constitute their sexuality and self-formation. Implications for practice require careful ethical consideration of the adoptees’ inherent vulnerability and how this impacts their sexuality and self-formation. These considerations for good practice/therapeutic intervention are underpinned by an awareness of potential ethical, political and social issues regarding the adoptee’s susceptible influence by the ‘other’. Therefore, an awareness of how ‘non-directive practice’ can be integrated ethically by the practitioner is emphasised. These implications are not always evident in counselling/psychotherapy training and supervision, and therefore need careful consideration by the practitioner at a personal level, and in relation to social policy, when working with adoptees.