Alison Phipps, together with Isabel Young, has recently completed a project for the NUS on 'lad culture' on university campuses. The research aimed to map existing literature on the phenomenon of 'lad culture', set in the context of gender issues in higher education more broadly, and to explore women's experiences of and opinions on it. Focus groups and interviews with 40 female students were conducted across England and Scotland.
The report will be launched at the NUS Women's Conference in March, and will be used to inform NUS policy and lobbying of institutions on gender issues. NUS also hopes it will feed into government policy on gender issues in higher education and violence against women. The research has been featured in a number of publications including Glamour Magazine, More Magazine, Women's Views on News and the Huffington Post.
'Asexual Identities and Practices of Intimacy'
Dr Susie Scott (Department of Sociology) and Dr Matt Dawson (at Glasgow University) have been awarded a Leverhulme research grant of £103,782 for their project, “A qualitative exploration of asexual identities and practices of intimacy”. The project will run for two years from March 2013, and will be led by Susie Scott as Principal Investigator, with Matt Dawson as Co-Investigator, and Dr Liz McDonnell as Research Fellow.
Asexuality is a sexual orientation defined by a lack of sexual desire, which tends to be viewed as an individual problem – an abnormality or deficiency - and socially stigmatised. Sociologically, however, we seek to understand how this identity is experienced and lived, and how asexual people build intimate relationships that can be equally fulfilling. Thus the project will attempt to answer two sets of questions about this group. Firstly, how does someone come to define themselves as ‘asexual’? Is there a process of ‘coming out’ involved and how does the idea of being asexual change – or not change – over time? How are the experiences of someone who becomes asexual in midlife different from those of someone who has always identified as asexual? Secondly, what are the distinguishing characteristics of asexual intimate partnerships, compared to friendships or other relationships? What does love or intimacy mean without sexual desire, and how are these feelings demonstrated, or practised, in everyday life? How might asexual relationships be conducted differently when only one partner, rather than both, lacks sexual desire? In exploring these questions, we will be especially interested in factors of social interaction and negotiation with others in the peer group, family and the growing online asexual community. We hope to show how the experiences and practices of asexual life are not simply a matter of biological fate, nor even individual choices, but rather influenced by our societal and cultural context.