What promotional and textual discourses are constructed over the production lifecycle of ‘The L Word’ and how do audiences respond to producer decisions within such discursive constructions?

Davies, Faye Patricia (2016) What promotional and textual discourses are constructed over the production lifecycle of ‘The L Word’ and how do audiences respond to producer decisions within such discursive constructions? Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.

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The following research is concerned with an exploration of the discourses constructed about lesbian culture both within and surrounding the production and lifecycle of The L Word. The originality of the approach to and development of this thesis is anchored in a consideration of the show as a symbolic good (Garnham, 1999) which encapsulates not only the meanings inherent in the television text, as often focused upon in traditional Television Studies perspectives, but also producer focused branding and creative justification through promotional materials, and audiences sense making. This means that the thesis is the result of the intersection of a number of theoretical approaches to the study of television production as industrial practice, television as meaningful text, and also to audiences as readers.
This thesis outlines that The L Word’s textual elements, promotional branding, and the audience response to this wide consideration of the television text altered significantly over six seasons. During this time the priorities of the producer altered from a focus on political representation and a communal sense of lesbian identity, to maintaining narratives and that would ensure appeal to a mainstream audience. This change in focus led to the fragmenting of lesbian subjectivities and formed an ideologically hegemonic lesbian culture within the text. This was further asserted through the othering of lesbian characters considered overtly sexualised, alongside identities of gender and sexuality that blurred the queer boundaries. The developing decoding and reactions of the lesbian audience further support the development of these hierarchies of discourse. Within this thesis it is also argued that the pleasures of the lesbian audience became problematic and their readings had to become increasingly negotiated for them to find enjoyment in the narratives and outcomes of The L Word.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: This work is dedicated to my parents who have always supported my decisions and direction in life, I cannot thank either of you enough for the love, approval, comfort, and encouragement unequivocally offered throughout my life, and especially at times of stress during this process. Thank you for keeping me going with the mantra that, ‘every word is one less’. You have both taught me that the best educators are not always found in classrooms or institutions, and that every instance of life is a learning curve. My first thanks must go to my PhD supervisory team for their support during the process. Particular thanks go to Professor John Mercer for his belief and help in developing and maintaining my motivation in completing this thesis. Thanks also go to Professor Tim Wall for his attention to detail and suggested development in the closing stages of this work. The suggestions were very much appreciated, as has been all the support given during the development of my academic career. Gratitude is also extended to Professor Philip Thickett and Professor Sue Heseltine for their understanding and efforts in supporting me in the process of completion. Many thanks also go to Siobhan Stevenson for the endless support via BBM, telephone, email, and in person. The encouragement and shared experience cannot be underestimated in terms of both comfort and being cathartic. Further thanks go to Inger-lise Bore, Matt Grimes, Nick Moreton, Caroline Officer and Nick Webber for developmental chats, cups of tea, general encouragement and reassurance about my sanity. Gratitude is also extended to Stephanie Hutton, Nicole Matthews and Sharon Wheeler in assisting with the proofreading of this work. Also, a note of thanks to Rebecca Beirne and Dana Heller who both edited the published versions of elements of the work also contained within this thesis. This work would not have been possible without the support of my parents, who have helped domestically and personally with managing the stress of completing a PhD whilst in full time employment. I will never forget this support. Finally, the completion of this work would have been impossible without the love and support of my partner Davina, and the long walks with Murphy where we could just talk about normality. Thank you so much for always being there and understanding the tiredness and frustration whilst always maintaining a belief I could achieve submission.
22 September 2016Completed
Subjects: CAH15 - social sciences > CAH15-01 - sociology, social policy and anthropology > CAH15-01-01 - social sciences (non-specific)
CAH24 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01-05 - media studies
Divisions: Doctoral Research College > Doctoral Theses Collection
Depositing User: Kip Darling
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2019 16:08
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2022 16:17
URI: https://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/6927

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