Serialised sexual violence in teen television drama series.
PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.
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This thesis examines the kinds of stories about teenage sexual violence that are enabled (or not) by US and British teen television drama series between 1990 and 2008. This genre is centrally concerned with issues of sexuality and, in particular, sexual vulnerability as teenage characters negotiate the transition from childhood to adulthood. Sexual violence narratives are common within this context. This thesis argues that a fuller understanding of representations of sexual violence is enabled by contextualising these narratives in relation to overall series’ and generic contexts. I employ a structural methodology to map where these storylines occur within series’ and generic structures across fourteen texts, uncovering striking patterns that point to the value of analysing several programmes alongside one another. This then provides the starting point for a deeper textual analysis of how sexual violence functions narratively and ideologically. Through doing this, I am able to provide insights into a variety of different forces that shape how these narratives are framed. Contextualising my analysis of representations of sexual violence allows me to account for the specificities of episodic and serial narrative forms, the generic hybridity of individual programmes, the wider conventions of the teen drama series genre, the gender of the series’ protagonist and US and British contexts. Additionally, I identify the genre’s dominant sexual norms and explore how these norms intersect with representations of sexual violence.
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