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Permanent link (DOI): https://doi.org/10.7939/R36D5PN5Z

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Making Feminism Popular: Audience Interpellation in Late Post-Network Era Television (a Case Study of TNT’s THE CLOSER) Open Access

Descriptions

Other title
Subject/Keyword
Audience
pluralistic gender frameworks
binary
cultural forum
ideology
basic cable
mass appeal
gender
postfeminist
imagined
pseudofeminist
ideological state apparatus
theory
aughts
anachronism
Popularity
Interpellation
reception
objectification
laura mulvey
transgender
polysemy
viewers
Case Study
encoding
dramedy
focus group
British cultural studies
The Closer
politics of representation
protofeminist
television codes
middle American
decoding
serial design
Feminism
gaze
John Fiske
primetime
cross-dressing
female protagonist
louis althusser
ethnographic audience analysis
Post Network Era
Television
television apparatus
semiotic textual analysis
drag
TNT
judith butler
Type of item
Thesis
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
York, Ashley Elaine
Supervisor and department
Michelle Meagher (Department of Women's and Gender Studies)
Examining committee member and department
Karen Hughes (Department of Sociology and School of Business)
July Garber (Department of Political Science)
Jana Grekul (Department of Sociology)
Cecily Devereux (Department of English and Film Studies)
Elana Levine (Reader) (University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Journalism, Advertising, and Media Studies)
Department
Department of Sociology
Specialization
Film, Television, and Media Studies
Date accepted
2016-04-01T10:06:56Z
Graduation date
2016-06
Degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Doctoral
Abstract
This dissertation explores the serial design model of The Closer. It answers the following question: How does The Closer offer multiple entry points along a spectrum of views on gender and feminism, appeal to a range of viewers, and thus secure popularity? To generate metadata of how The Closer is designed for popularity by offering what film scholar Christine Gledhill calls “a range of positions of identification” with the text, using a Fiskean method of textual analysis, I examine the television codes of the transgender figure and the gaze in Chapters Three and Four (Gledhill 1988, 73). Each chapter offers a detailed analysis of a single episode of The Closer and theorizes how television codes of one episode are designed to take advantage of the coexistence of many possible interpretations of the theme under review. As counterpoint to my readings, in Chapter Two I analyze a focus group study conducted with forty-two sample viewers in Tucson, Arizona in 2013. Combining textual, industrial, and ethnographic audience analyses, I find that The Closer’s historic popularity is due to the ways its television codes broaden hegemonic discourses, break gender binaries, and relieve the dominant male gaze—that is, temporarily, subtly, and anachronistically. This smart serial design offers characterizations and content that chip away at hegemonic ideologies of gender over the series run. Viewers along a spectrum of feminism, gender, or sexuality are interpellated into the text through differing characters and points of view taken up in individual episodes, as well as those across the series. This model of serial design offers more pluralistic gender frameworks while not sacrificing popularity. This model qualifies The Closer as a sea-changing text, and it is why this series has influenced myriad, similarly designed female protagonist dramedies since 2005.
Language
English
DOI
doi:10.7939/R36D5PN5Z
Rights
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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