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Title: Queer fan practices online : digital fan production as a negotiation of LGBT representation in Pretty Little Liars
Author: Bingham, William
ISNI:       0000 0004 6423 8421
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2016
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Fan Studies aims to de-pathologise fans, their communities and their fannish practices (Jenkins 1992). In doing so, Fan Studies privileges fan voices by interrogating their quotidian on- and offline fan practices (Brooker 2002; Hills 2002), demonstrating the emotional connection these fans have to texts. Much of this fannish engagement revolves around the creation and consumption of slash fiction (Bacon-Smith 1992; Hellekson & Busse 2006), a fan practice occurring in fan fiction communities that has been identified as a ‘queer female space’ (Lothian et al 2007, 103). This work predominantly explores why women create these fan texts with little consideration given to the fan’s source text. In spite of this, little attention has been given to LGBT+ fandom and how self-identifying LGBT+ fans negotiate mediated representations of LGBT+ identity, especially when considering the increasing level of LGBT+ media representations on television and particularly on Teen TV programmes. Therefore, this thesis addresses the ways in which fans negotiate non-normative identities represented in the teen mystery TV series Pretty Little Liars (2010-) by investigating ‘queer’ modes of fan production, namely ‘fan talk’, (fem)slash fiction, digital (fem)slash and fan theory-making created by PLL fans. PLL hosts a range of diverse LGBT+ representations and includes a large number of LGB producers and creative talent. This investigation occurs by employing a reader-guided textual analysis (Ytre-Arne 2011), a method that centralises fan meaning-making by analysing the fan’s source text through these fan interpretations. I argue that reader-guided textual analysis (Ytre-Arne 2011) allows us to better understand how fans negotiate LGBT+ representation, how fans accept or reject these LGBT+ representations and the characters’ relationships. The implications lie not just in Fan Studies methodologies and fan production, but also for Queer Theory’s ‘evaluative paradigm’ (Davis and Needham 2009) or how Queer Theorist assess representations as either positive or negative.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available