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The Gendered and Sexual Experiences of Iranian Muslim Menopausal Women: A Biographical Narrative Approach

AMINI, ELHAM (2017) The Gendered and Sexual Experiences of Iranian Muslim Menopausal Women: A Biographical Narrative Approach. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This thesis explores the processes through which sexual and gendered experiences of Iranian Muslim menopausal women are shaped by hegemonic gender norms, and how these women do, in turn, express their agency. It addresses a significant gap in the literature, due in part to the dominant biomedical discourse that have failed to acknowledge the role of sociocultural factors in understanding the sexuality of menopausal women. Moreover, it is the first study that analyses the sexual, embodied and gendered experiences of Iranian Muslim menopausal women from their point of view, contributing to biographical sociology and sexualities research. Specifically, this is achieved by undertaking empirical research linking sexuality, ageing, and the body to the matter of menopause - conceived here as a gendered, embodied and lived phenomenon characterised both by cultural constraint and by individual reflexive body techniques. 30 biographical, life course interviews, were conducted and I scrutinise the ways in which women articulate critical agency and bodily practices in milieux structured by masculine power over three different stages of their lives: childhood, womanhood and menopause. Highlighting the events and experiences that have been significant in shaping the sexual and gendered biographies of my interviewees, I discuss how cultural meanings and symbols have emerged and been negotiated by these women at these different stages of their lives. Importantly, it is argued that this ultimately demonstrates the significance of female agency in respect of the socio-cultural contexts in which women are typically conceived as being afforded little autonomy, as well as their reflexive embodiment, their cultural consent as well as the contesting of power. Indeed, the women’s stories reveal that ‘the gendered body’ and experiences of sexuality are created in the interaction between, at the macro-level, socio-cultural structures and, at the micro-level, personal, embodied, responses to these normative structures.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Menopause, Gender, Sexuality, embodiment and lived experience
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Applied Social Sciences, School of
Thesis Date:2017
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:19 Jun 2017 11:40

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