Class and Habitus in the Formation of Gay Identities, Masculinities, and Respectability in Turkey


Ural H., Bespinar F. U.

JOURNAL OF MIDDLE EAST WOMENS STUDIES, vol.13, no.2, pp.244-264, 2017 (Journal Indexed in SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 13 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Doi Number: 10.1215/15525864-3861323
  • Title of Journal : JOURNAL OF MIDDLE EAST WOMENS STUDIES
  • Page Numbers: pp.244-264
  • Keywords: gay identity, masculinity, respectability, habitus, capital, HEGEMONIC MASCULINITY, CLOSET, SPACE, MEN

Abstract

This article examines how gay men engage with masculine respectability in urban Turkey. Our analysis of twenty-four in-depth interviews in Ankara shows that gay men's self-presentation generally conforms to the expectations of masculine appearance and behavior in their class-based social circles. Thus we argue that social class and habitus are important for the norms of masculine respectability with a marked difference between lower-class/traditional middle-class and professional middle-class milieus. While family-dependent gay men in the lower class and traditional middle class often conform to hegemonic masculinity through their "family guy" performances and limit their sexual desires, professional middle-class gay men mobilize their social, economic, and cultural capital to carve out a gay life where they can perform a "sophisticated" gay identity and participate in a gay community, albeit in certain permitted domains.