Elvis Coimbra Gomes

Thesis title:

Normative Regulations of Discourses About Misunderstood Sexual Obsessions: a Netnographic-Supported Corpus Linguistic Study

Abstract:

Although Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is stereotypically associated with cleanliness, order, symmetry, and perfectionism, it is unknown to the wider (clinical) population that intrusive sexual thoughts are commonly experienced by up to 25% of OCD sufferers (Grant et al. 2006). Since sexual obsessions are under-studied, they are often dramatically misunderstood and misdiagnosed (Glazier et al. 2013). Ignoring that they are – unlike sexual fantasies – unpleasant (Gordon 2002), therapists might wrongly identify them as symptomatic of e.g. pedophilia, or internalized homophobia. Researchers argue that genetics and sociocultural factors may shape the content of obsessions (e.g. Fontenelle et al. 2004; NICE 2006), and that moral judgments surrounding gender/sexuality create sexual obsessions (Gordon 2002). While discourses of gender and sexuality generally reflect normative regulatory forces (Cameron & Kulick 2003), no studies have explored how normativity shapes sexual obsessions precisely.By mixing quanti-qualitative corpus linguistic (CL) approaches with critical discourse analysis (CDA), Elvis’s netnographic-supported interdisciplinary study aims to further knowledge of the under-researched and misunderstood manifestations of sexual obsessions in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Rooting the current project in Health Communication and Queer Linguistics, the study will contribute to theoretical discussions of normativity in sociolinguistics and promote the use of CL in humanities research more broadly that could inform clinical understandings of mental health. The results may improve the clinical assessment of these often-misdiagnosed obsessions. Moreover, the project carries an action-oriented goal in the creation of an online forum to support and guide sufferers to appropriate treatment.Publications: Language, normativity, and sexual orientation obsessive-compulsive disorder (SO-OCD): A corpus-assisted discourse analysis, 2019

First supervisor:

Erez Levon

Pathway:

7 – Linguistics, Media & Culture

Cohort:

2017-18