Selling my queer soul or queerying quantitative research?
Browne, K. (2008) Selling my queer soul or queerying quantitative research? Sociological Research Online, 13 (1). ISSN 1360-7804
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Official URL: http://www.socresonline.org.uk/13/1/11.html
Sexualities research is increasingly gaining prominence within, and outside, of academia. This paper will use queer understandings to explore the contingent (re)formation of quantitative data, particularly those that seek to gain insights into Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans populations and lifestyles. I use queer critiques to explore the creation and normalising impulses of quantitative sexualities research and argue that research that addresses ‘deviant’/other/(homo)sexualities brings categories (mainly lesbian and gay) into being. Using three key research events from a large scale quantitative research study of 7,212 respondents, ‘Do it with Pride’, the paper examines the (re)formation of quantitative research between researchers, respondents and the questionnaire. In particular the paper: reveals the contingency of research design by discussing the exclusion of the term ‘queer’ from the research design, and then questions categories of sexualities as fixed variables by examining; the piloting of a non-normative gender question, and the re-coding of sexuality categories in the analysis phase. This points to the (re)creation of research categories that are not simply instruments of measurements but are actively engaged in the (re)construction of sexualities (including but not limited to sexualities research) within normative frames. The paper finishes by taking this queer critique in a different direction juxtaposing the apparently stable products of quantitative research (questionnaires and reports) with an examination of the transgressive potentials of queer moments in (re)making such research.
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