New Perspectives in Reception Studies

By: Julie Whiteman  

This paper examines contemporary sexualization of culture debates and postfeminist understandings of sexuality which have framed the feminine as sexual, taking contemporary mainstream music video and social media as a case study. This paper argues that these texts present a version of sexuality that is heteronormative, that reinforces a view of heterosexuality as the normative sexuality, and that normalises a hegemonic heterosexuality which legitimises existing power relations and is frequently linked with (sexual) violence against women. This paper further presents Mediated Discourse Analysis (MDA) as an innovative methodological approach for reception studies. By focusing on "discourse in action" it provides a vehicle to understand how texts are read and interpreted when appropriated by the audience. The paper sets this methodology within a feminist framework of reception studies drawing on literature from feminist theory, media, and cultural studies; it demonstrates how this methodology is being employed in the author’s own ethnographic research to explore reading and interpretation of sexual scripts within contemporary music video and social media and the significance of this intertextual relationship. This paper explores the relationship between ideas and action to understand how sexual scripts are communicated within the current postfeminist sexualised media culture landscape.

Audience, Popular Culture
Media Cultures
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Julie Whiteman

-, -, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom
-, United Kingdom

Julie Whiteman is a 2nd year Sociology PhD researcher at the University of Birmingham (UK) conducting ethnographic research into audience reception of music video and social media. Julie's research interests cover media theory, feminist theory, cultural studies, sociology, and gender and sexuality. More specifically, Julie is interested int he role media texts play in the construction of ideas and power in society.