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Title: Particularities of queer utility : gay expertise and the aesthetic disposition
Author: Russo, Joseph C.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5371 8323
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths, University of London
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis attempts a reconceptualization of queerness as it is discussed within queer studies and popular cultural forms. It avoids the tendency towards queerness as pure abstraction, in which queerness constitutes an aleatoric force that defines some basic quality of nature (flux, change, chaos, possibility); it also attempts to find creative ways to circumvent a compartmentalization of queerness into identity formation. That is, it avoids describing queerness as either a phenomenon or an identity choice. Instead, this thesis conceives of queerness as a set of functions, or utilities, that enact social processes. In this work, these processes are referred to as ‘masks’ in order to exemplify their use value. By using Pierre Bourdieu’s notion of distinction and Guy Hocquenghem’s theory of homosexual desire, as well as engaging with contemporary works of queer theory, it presents an analysis of the figure of the ‘gay expert’ within popular culture discourses as an arbiter of aesthetics whose queer functionality (not ruling class status) provides him with cultural capital and the power to advise and instruct consumers. This power amounts to the ability to encode and decode cultural knowledge. Additionally, the concept of the ‘queer avatar’ is explored in analyses of various popular cultural forms, including professional wrestling and popular television series, in which a particular functionality of aberrance is deployed to various ends, including horror, satire, and valor.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available