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At Home with Significant Others or Risky Domestic Space? Middle-aged Gay Men’s Stories of Kinship and Un/Belonging

Paul Simpson

Abstract


Abstract

Despite focus on gay ‘friendship families’ (Weeks et al, 2001), how middle-aged gay men differentiate themselves from others via relating in domestic spaces has been comparatively neglected. To address this knowledge gap, I use Bourdieusian theorizing to extend understanding of a particular gay field of existence. Based on interviews with 27 middle-aged gay men, I argue that two major shifts occur in midlife away from the family of origin and the commercial scene of Manchester’s ‘gay village’ towards ‘friendship family.’ The latter encourages mobilization of ‘ageing capital’ that helps subjects withstand/contest homophobia and gay ageism. Subjects used ageing capital to question heteronormative notions of family and practice non-monogamy. However, men’s stories of homes/ neighbourhoods combine belonging and alienation (Cook, 2011). Whilst experiences of homes/ neighbourhoods were generally affirmative, some informants experienced exclusion from friendship family for socio-economic and cultural reasons which render the home a site of ambivalence, exclusion and risk.

Keywords: ageing capital; families of choice; homes and neighbourhoods; middle-aged gay men; risk and ontological security

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Bibliography: Simpson, Paul: At Home with Significant Others or Risky Domestic Space? Middle-aged Gay Men’s Stories of Kinship and Un/Belonging, INSEP, Vol. 4, Issue 2-2016, pp. 58-74. https://doi.org/10.3224/insep.v4i2.06


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