Meah, Angela, Hockey, Jenny and Robinson, Vicky (2004) Narrating Heterosexual Identities: Recollections, Omissions and Contradictions. In: Narrative, Memory & Identity: Theoretical and Methodological Issues. University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, pp. 85-93.

This paper draws on narratives of heterosexual identity gathered from among
the members of different generations within extended families in East
Yorkshire. Within single life history interviews we therefore have data which
constitute memories of the past and narrative accounts of the present. What we
explore in this paper are the contradictions and omissions evident in our
material. Thus, for example, some interviewees recall the value they placed on
freedom to explore their sexuality during their adolescence yet, speaking as
parents, emphasise the importance of regulating their children’s sexual
experience. Others attribute chastity, monogamy and sexual restraint with an
unquestionably high moral status, yet openly endorse the vagaries of sexual
practice between particular individuals, including themselves. In some cases
these contradictions become apparent to the interviewee and we therefore
explore their reflections on this kind of dissonance. In others contradictions are
apparent only to the researcher. We analyse these narratives as aspects of the
ways in which heterosexuality, as an institution, is produced and reproduced.
Of particular interest are the continuities of heterosexual strategy which may
underpin apparently disparate practices. In addition we concern ourselves with
the ways in which individuals evaluate the ‘givens’ of heterosexuality,
amending, resisting or transforming the practices through which it is

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