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Title: Queer sisters : gay male culture, women and gender dissent.
Author: Maddison, Stephen.
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 1997
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Gay male culture is suffused with indications of the importance of women and bonds with women. Indeed the Stonewall riots, mythologised moment of the birth of modern gay politics, are often said to have been catalysed by gay male grief at the death of Judy Garland. Why should a culture apparently founded on same-sex desire be so preoccupied with relationships across gender difference? The thesis attempts to map the shape and effects of bonds with women by using a materialist analytical framework in relation to texts and their critical retinue. The first chapter looks at A Streetcar Named Desire, a play that has engendered significant cultural contest which spans key historical and political shifts in the nature of gay male identity. This chapter attempts to show how a diverse range of critical engagements with Tennessee Williams's work, including authoritative and resistant, heterosexual, homosexual and queer ones, exhibit considerable investment in the proposition that the playwright's sexuality not only structures a libidinous desire, but a gender identification. The second chapter situates gay men within the homosocial gender bonds mapped by Eve Sedgwick, and draws attention to the dissident opportunities gay male culture has exploited within this narrative system. It goes on to examine the potential political and cultural links between such strategies and the resistance of straight women who are also organised as homosocial subjects. This chapter includes a reading of Tarantino's Pulp Fiction as homosocial text and looks at a number of autobiographical and journalistic writings which identify a predominant dissident strategy which I refer to as heterosocial bonds. The latter part of the thesis comprises two complementary chapters. The first of these, chapter three, assesses the plausibility of heterosocial bonding in the representations of relationships between straight women, lesbians and gay men in the American situation comedy Roseanne. Chapter four conducts a similar inquiry in relation to Pedro Almodovar and the representational alignment he makes with women in the film Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. The analysis conducted in both of these chapters attempts to treat the texts not only as generic and formal representations,but as attempted acts of bonding. The thesis attempts to judge the political expediency and effectiveness of heterosocial bonding, and locates the difficulty and contingency of such endeavours within the fabric of homosocial structures.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Popular culture Literature Mass media Performing arts Sociology Human services