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Title: Post-feminism in Italy and the legacy of Berlusconism : an analysis of media representations of female subjectivity and sexuality in the age of Berlusconi
Author: Fegitz, Ella
ISNI:       0000 0004 7226 8807
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths, University of London
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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In this research project, I address critical questions about Italian post-feminism, by exploring the way the peculiarities of Italian media and culture have contributed in producing a specifically Italian form of post-feminism. While a post-feminist subjectivity, in terms of neoliberal, individualist, narcissist standards among young women, has been observed and commented on by a few Italian authors, the important relation between post-feminist sexuality and subjectivity, Berlusconi’s political and cultural project, and the media has not yet been analysed in depth. To investigate this, I employ a feminist postructuralist approach to the study of media and society, and explore the way the media produces and reproduces discourses of gender and sexuality that have circulated in Berlusconism. The thesis highlights how young femininity has emerged in the national popular imagination as barometer of social change, at the same time becoming subjected to increased scrutiny and policing. In the first two chapters I discuss the theoretical framework and methodology of the thesis. I then explore Berlusconi’s influence on media and politics (Chapter 3). I define Berlusconi’s cultural and political hegemony in terms of a neoliberal authoritarian populism, in which the media played a fundamental role by articulating representations of femininity and female sexuality that work to secure the status quo and existing relations of power. Following this, is the analysis of the case studies, in which the connection between the legal system and the media provides a surface of emergence for the figuration of post-feminist femininity. This is articulated through cultural discourses about commercial sexuality (Chapter 4), phallicism (Chapter 5) and mental health (Chapter 6). Ultimately, this research project sheds light on the way media representations of femininity and female sexuality relate to Berlusconism, where longstanding sexist and misogynist discourses have been accompanied by new ones, integral to neoliberal governmentality.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral