2019/20 Project Abstracts

Foster: ‘Mixed-race Britain’: Exploring the experiences of young adults from multiracial backgrounds in the UK

This research utilises a phenomenological approach into understanding the mixed-race narrative of the fastest growing ethnic group within Britain. Previous research, corrupted by scientific racism, aimed to classify mixed-race people as inferior and damaging to the purity of race. Whereas, modern research explores the intricacies of mixed-race identity processes, contemplating the unique insight these complex conceptualisations of mixed-race identity provide the literature of identity models. Six undergraduate participants were recruited from a London university. Participants were interviewed using a semi-structured interview schedule in order to gain rich qualitative data. Interview data was then analysed using IPA. Two master themes emerged; The Mixed Blessing and Multiracialism and Mixed-race Britain. Participants explored feelings of racial belonging and exclusion, whilst also inserting racial pride. In addition, participants specifically considered their experiences in Britain, deliberating the extent to which this impacted the views of their racial understanding. These finding contribute to the limited literature centred around mixed-race identities in the UK. Thus, developing an insight towards multiracialism, providing a basis for further research.

Hamada: Life in Western society: Cultural clash between young adults and their traditional ethnic upgringing

This was a qualitative study which used Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) to examine London-based young adults of Middle Eastern, African and Asian heritage experiences of culture clash. Overall 12 participants were recruited, aged 21-29 from various platforms (social media and University’s SONA website). Semi-structured interviews are carried out which consisted of culture conflict-related questions. Interview data was transcribed and analysed using IPA. The following master themes identified were: Dispute over personal choice matters, a dispute over outings and arriving home late, parent’s disapproval of friend choices, the journey of parents’ cultural integration, self-identification and honour-related issues. All participants reported at least two types of clashes with their parents. The implications of the present study are discussed.

MacDonald: Attitudes towards bisexuality: A thematic analysis approach

Whilst homosexuality is characterised by attraction to the same sex, bisexuality is defined by attraction to males and females. Although attitudes towards homosexuality have gradually been improving in society, attitudes towards bisexuality have not been improving at the same rate. Thus, the aim of this research was to investigate attitudes towards bisexuality by analysing newspaper articles. The rationale behind this study was the media’s influential role in forming the general public’s opinions and social representations. Additionally, previous qualitative research in this area analysed interview data instead of newspaper articles, thereby not gaining insight into the media’s views of bisexuality. Thematic analysis was used to analyse 38 newspaper articles published between 2000 and 2019 mentioning bisexuality. The data was collected through Nexis. Three themes were found: 1) Confusion of what bisexuality is; 2) The stigma of bisexuality; 3) Bisexual erasure. These findings are similar to most of the previous findings in this field. An implication of this is that more accurate information about bisexuality should be shared in order to reduce its stigma. Furthermore, moves should be made towards no longer erasing bisexuality. It was concluded that attitudes towards bisexuality in society and the media are largely negative. Future research could compare newspaper articles discussing homosexuality and bisexuality to see how the media differs in discussing the two, as well as investigating how bisexuality is discussed on social media, in which less censored views may be shared in comparison to the mainstream media.

Nelson: A thematic analysis of the representations of transgender children within newspaper articles

For increasing populations such as transgender children, media can play a key role in the development of attitudes formed within society about these groups.  Seeking to provide novel information, the current study investigated the portrayal of transgender children within newspaper articles gathered from available online sources.  Facilitating thematic analysis, this study identified three main themes, highlighting an increase in referrals, the concerns around children’s safety and the importance of parental and school support for these children. Thus, this demonstrates a need for future research amongst transgender children and their parents to gain an understanding of the key themes derived from the current study, allowing for the creation of appropriate policies and guidelines to protect transgender children.

Safo: The impact of toxic masculinity and sexism on men’s mental health: A thematic analysis

Sexism is a well known phenomenon that embodies pressures, restrictions and stereotypes related to gender norms. This has the capability to ultimately lead to harmful constructs of gender, like toxic masculinity. The negative aspects of this construct may have a deeper impact than it is assumed. Men’s mental health is an increasingly important issue in today’s society, and it is an absolute necessity that any possible contributors are researched. In depth interviews were conducted to investigate how undergraduate males from the University of Roehampton, between the ages of 18 and 30, feel about the terms ‘toxic masculinity’ and ‘sexism’, and how these concepts interact with men’s mental health. The term ‘toxic masculinity’ is a term that is has been repeatedly expressed in the recent years as a response to describe negative male behaviours. The expectations of men are immense. Yet society has deemed men to be able to deal with expectations of them successfully, while supporting others. This project aims to assess how men feel about various aspects of toxic masculinity and if they feel that there are effects on them personally, and effects on those around them. In addition, how detrimental these effects can be. Results revealed the themes: ‘Concealment of true emotions’, ‘Toxic masculinity as a motivational factor’, ‘Sexist attitudes as a barrier to seeking mental health treatment’, ‘The fine line between toxic and natural masculinity’ and ‘The Pressure of the Physical and emotional aspects of being a man’. This paper will explore these themes and their effects in depth.