Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Sociology and Anthropology

First Advisor

Barry Adam


Social sciences



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


Since the 1960s, lesbian and feminist activists have been involved in large scale organization for the advancement of identity-based rights. Recent developments of poststructuralist and queer perspectives have problematized identity politics, viewing identity categorizes as available cultural categories rather than essential attributes. This complicates political engagements in which we are called to both account for the discursive construction of these categories while demanding that social and political institutions accommodate differences. In consideration of these discursive pulls, this research is concerned with the ongoing viability and political usefulness of sexual identities. Based on the narratives of twelve women between the ages of 23 and 38, this project explores how 'lesbian' is lived and described by those who imagine this label applying to themselves in some way. This contributes to an understanding of how lesbian narratives have changed according to a rapidly changing concept of lesbianism over the past several decades.