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Title: Staging difference : queer theory and gender in British performance, 1968-1998
Author: Greer, S.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2006
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This thesis proposes a relationship between Queer Theory and the development of performance conventions in British theatre in the period 1968 to 1998. The basis of that relationship is a theoretical account of subjectivity, rooted in feminist and psychoanalytic critiques of the relationship between sex, gender and sexuality – primarily in the works of Judith Butler and Elizabeth Grosz. That account challenges the essential construction of gendered identity and seeks to detail the ways in which certain subjectivities are rendered legitimate or illegitimate, marked or unmarked. The notion of conditional subjectivities is first explored through a critical analysis of camp performance as a form of parody which reflexively invokes that which it challenges. Round the Horne is discussed as an example of the mainstream acceptance and use of camp, noting in particular the problematic presence of “polari”, a form of gay slang. The consequent issues of self-identification raised by camp leads to a discussion of the work of the Gay Sweatshop who sought to control and redefine the representation of gay subjects in mainstream theatre and television. This issue of authentic representation as political necessity is then pursued through the work of Tony Kushner and Ron Athey, considering performative responses to the AIDS crisis. The potential impasse created by Queer Theory’s account of the maternal body is explored through a discussion of unmarked race and desire in Caryl Churchill and Joint Stock’s production of the play Cloud Nine, and in the representation of lesbian identity in the work of Jill Posener, Jackie Kay and Michelene Wandor. Finally, issues of representation and legitimacy are explored through the evolution of Pride from protest march to carnival celebration to offer a potential model of queer performance not as a radical alternative operating “outside” of normative cultural discourse, but a process of working the weaknesses within that norm.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available