Kropp & Knopp - En diskursanalys av två aktörers konstruktioner av transsexualism inom ramen för en statlig utredning
Sammanfattning: Authors: Lisa Grönlund and Jenny Jalvelius Title: Body & Mind – A discourse analysis of two participants’ constructions of transsexualism within the frame of a public investigation [translated title] Supervisor: Mats Hilte Assessor: Anna Meeuwisse Lately transsexualism and transsexuals have received increased attention in media and in the field of research and we have aimed to contribute to the understanding of this condition and of how it can be constructed. The phenomenon transsexualism can be understood as a condition where a human being’s sex assignment and body do not agree with the gender identity of this person. The aim of this study was to, through discourse analysis; examine how transsexualism is constructed by two participants within the frame of a public investigation and to analyze how these constructions may affect the interaction between transsexuals and their surroundings. The empirical material of this study is a Swedish Government Official Report and a three-volume statement of opinion from the patient organization Benjamin. Our social constructive discourse analysis is based on the discourse theory of Laclau and Mouffe and in the analysis of our results, based on the discursive structure of the empirical material; Goffman’s dramaturgical perspective and Butler’s theory of heterosexism have been used. The discursive structure we identified consists of five master signifiers and their chains of equivalence. The master signifiers where; the opposite sex, gender role, body, psychiatric illness and sex assignment. Furthermore we found that the participants for the most part constructed transsexualism in the same way. A strong divergence between the two regarded whether or not transsexualism is to be considered a psychiatric illness. We also found that the discourse reproduced a binary understanding of sex/gender. Considering the interaction between transsexuals and their surroundings our reflections showed that the transition from one sex to the other opposes a great challenge for the individual. To gain acceptance as the desired sex depends on the individual’s capability to pass as well as on attitudes of the surrounding.
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