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The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies, 7 Volume Set by Fabienne Darling-Wolf, Radhika Parameswaran, Erica Scharrer, Vicki Mayer, Sharon Mazzarella, Kelly Gates, John Nerone, Angharad N. Valdivia

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10

Queer Gazing and the Popular

A Study on the Representational Strategies of Queer Representations in Popular Television Fiction

Sofie Van Bauwel, Frederik Dhaenens, and Daniel Biltereyst

ABSTRACT

In this chapter, we elaborate on the construction of queer representations in popular television fiction. In spite of the critical and commercial success of “queer” television fiction series (e.g., Queer as Folk, The L Word, Six Feet Under), queer representations are sometimes still seen as controversial. The aim of this chapter is to obtain a better insight into the social and emancipating role of queer representations in contemporary popular culture. A theoretical integration and a translation of the concept of queer theory offer a conceptual framework for this study on media representations. In particular, this chapter relies on this framework for the analysis of television as a popular discourse machine in relation to the production of queer representations in global popular television series. Our textual analysis stresses the different strategies of queer representation in popular television fiction. We discuss the potentiality, limits, and restraints of this diversity of strategies and explore the limits of representing queer within the realm of contemporary popular culture.

Contemporary Western society is dominated by a media culture (Featherstone, 1995; Kellner, 1995). Besides printed media, radio, and information and communication technologies (ICTs), television is still an ...

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