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Gender, genre and globalization : discourses of "Femininity" in the popular culture of the 1990's

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Gender, genre and globalization : discourses of "Femininity" in the popular culture of the 1990's

Simon, Cheryl Inez (1998) Gender, genre and globalization : discourses of "Femininity" in the popular culture of the 1990's. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

The thesis traces the discursive construction of gender and femininity in American popular crime stories, focusing on the years 1989-1994. I argue that popular notions of gender and femininity acquired new significance at this time and that the renegotiation of these concepts can be read in, enabled by and has had an impact on the conventions of film noir , detective fiction, and tabloid crime genres. In the 1980's and early 1990's, in conjunction with shifts in social concerns and the emergence of new discourses relating to sexuality, new representational technologies, and the intensification of economic globalization, the prior, popular understanding that there was a correspondence between gender and the body became destabilized in social discourse. Simultaneously the stability of representational practice, tout court , was undermined. At this time, a proliferation of narratives about women and crime that challenged the sex-gender relationship, appeared in popular culture. Asserting that gender was a social construction, many of these representations were also self-reflexive of their own constructedness and foregrounded their status as representation. In these instances, the concept of "gender parody" was raised through genre parody. These crime stories revived the styles, forms, genres and narrative preoccupations of post-WW II American popular culture to ironize the gender roles and social relations of these earlier representations. Other crime narratives raised the question of gender stability thematically, as an issue related to shifts in social roles, often bringing about changes in the genre's typical point-of-view structures. In all, the semantic value and symbolic position of "Woman" were contested. An examination of these representations foregrounds the manner in which the concept of gender has shifted over the last ten years, and since the second world war. It also highlights related transformations in popular generic forms. The thesis provides textual analyses of a selection of actual and fictional crime narratives to examine the ways in which femininity is constructed through the interaction of popular, feminist, political, economic, sociological, psychoanalytical and legal discourses, and to what ideological purpose.

Divisions:Concordia University > School of Graduate Studies
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Simon, Cheryl Inez
Pagination:viii, 338 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (Ph.D.)
Program:School of Graduate Studies
Date:1998
Thesis Supervisor(s):Berland, Jody
ID Code:646
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 13:13
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:15
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