Date of Award

2009

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Sociology

Abstract

There are many scholars who are critical of modern representations of GLBTQ folks on television (see for example, Larry Gross 1999, Diane Raymond 2005). While it has been established that queer visibility has grown tremendously since the 1990's (post Ellen's coming out), many scholars, noting the absence for example of on-screen intimacy, argue that this greater visibility is still problematic. Queers are rendered a-sexual best friends to straight girls (Ingraham, 1999), and queer couples live lives modeled after "normal" heterosexuals, serving to maintain a binary of sexuality that privileges heteros (Chambers, 2006). All the while, this scholarship seems to pass over the audience completely, failing to articulate how television watchers themselves interpret and make sense of these characters and these shows. Media scholars argue that audiences are active consumers, and engage in a contextually located, on going process of meaning making; audiences use, re-use, and recreate media texts in dynamic ways, rendering one stable reading unlikely. The purpose of this project is to fill this gap between representational critique and audience. Through qualitative methodologies, I move beyond textual analysis and explore how television shapes people's lives, people's ideas of, and experiences around sexuality, exploring the real life impact of television. representations.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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