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Title: Marketing Subjectivity: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Construction of the Problematic Female Television Audience
Authors: Shepherd, Dawn
Advisors: Carolyn R. Miller, Committee Chair
David Herman, Committee Member
Catherine Warren, Committee Member
Keywords: critical discourse analysis
rhetorical criticism
media studies
Issue Date: 5-Apr-2004
Degree: MA
Discipline: English
Abstract: Though some work has been done on the relationship between the series and its audience, most notably Tjardes's examination of the audience's constructions of Faith the Vampire Slayer, little has been written about the ways in which power relationships within the series contribute to the discursive construction of the audience, specifically the female audience. In order to examine power relationships within the series and their impact on the discursive construction of the female audience, I use the fields of rhetoric and critical discourse analysis to frame my discussion. Initially in Chapter 2, I present an overview of major critical perspectives on audience, specifically delineating the essentialist and socially constructed conceptions of audience. Synthesizing scholarship on the construction of audience and tools from critical discourse analysis, I outline three principles for examining the construction of the television audience. Next in Chapter 3, I discuss levels of social organization and the subject positions available in Buffy, examining specific character interactions, paying particular attention to the ways in which power relationships develop within and through the interactions. Then in Chapter 4, I consider the impact of the cultural context and the text's medium on the series. Finally in Chapter 5, I expose the problematic nature of constructing the female television audience, revisit Buffy and how the series interacts with dominant ideologies, offer potential for multiple audiences, and propose avenues meriting further exploration.
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