Please contact Martin Säfström for thesis. Everyone is welcome to attend the defence

Abstract

During the past decade, the continuing impact of globalisation has provoked considerable debate concerning the presumed universality of minority sexual identities, with the resulting literature in reference to the MENA region most often relying on binary interpretations such as act vs. identity, and essentialism vs. constructionism. Although some scholars have begun to recognise the need to break with such binarisms, the theories they have advanced have yet to gain significant traction. Another way this can be accomplished, however, is by applying more established theories from other domains, such as identity

theory from sociology and psychology. Building on previous studies of how those who identify as homosexual are represented in mainstream media in the MENA region, the current study will instead focus on acts of self-representation in the form of e-zines published by such individuals in seven different countries. Using semiotic analysis to examine extant issues of seven specific publications encompassing an overall corpus of several hundred pages of images and text in Arabic, English and French, the current study attempts to reveal and explore the ways in which other types of identity are impacting the expression and development of minority sexual identity. In addition to suggesting new avenues for future research concerning the intersection of the concepts of homosexuality and the MENA region, the current study reveals not only the true breadth of the linguistic and symbolisation choices emerging queer communities in the region have at their disposal, but also the complex negotiation of multiple identity types that is actually taking place – often far beyond preoccupations with sexual identity alone.

Supervisor: Professor Noha Mellor