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Abstract or Description

This inquiry serves as an experiment for understanding how young gay men talk about love and find meaningful relationships. It explores the need to interpret an emerging discourse around the relationships of these men, a discourse that does not fit the stereotypes and conventions of heterosexual dating, marriage, or romantic love. An equally important need motivating this study involves finding ways to explain the discourse to others, in ways that hope to transform popular understandings of what a “relationship” is. After identifying critical aspects of this discourse and wrestling with powerful counterarguments in current public discussions, this inquiry finds ways to situate problems within a larger debate. The basis of research here involves an extensive collection of data from young gay men – from formal interviews, to notes on conversations, to reflective prose. The perspectives these men offer include how they negotiate both the need to create a shared understanding and the need to discuss the inevitable tensions in relationships. This combination of serious reflective engagement with a very real social issue, and close observation based on an experimental way of knowing, will aid in the goal of creating a discussion built around discourse, shared concerns, and different perspectives.


Linda Flower, advisor