Queer fan practices online: digital fan production as a negotiation of LGBT representation in Pretty Little Liars

Bingham, William (2016) Queer fan practices online: digital fan production as a negotiation of LGBT representation in Pretty Little Liars. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

Fan Studies aims to de-pathologise fans, their communities and their fannish practices
(Jenkins 1992). In doing so, Fan Studies privileges fan voices by interrogating their quotidian
on- and offline fan practices (Brooker 2002; Hills 2002), demonstrating the emotional
connection these fans have to texts. Much of this fannish engagement revolves around the
creation and consumption of slash fiction (Bacon-Smith 1992; Hellekson & Busse 2006), a
fan practice occurring in fan fiction communities that has been identified as a ‘queer female
space’ (Lothian et al 2007, 103). This work predominantly explores why women create these
fan texts with little consideration given to the fan’s source text. In spite of this, little
attention has been given to LGBT+ fandom and how self-identifying LGBT+ fans negotiate
mediated representations of LGBT+ identity, especially when considering the increasing
level of LGBT+ media representations on television and particularly on Teen TV
programmes.
Therefore, this thesis addresses the ways in which fans negotiate non-normative identities
represented in the teen mystery TV series Pretty Little Liars (2010-) by investigating ‘queer’
modes of fan production, namely ‘fan talk’, (fem)slash fiction, digital (fem)slash and fan
theory-making created by PLL fans. PLL hosts a range of diverse LGBT+ representations and
includes a large number of LGB producers and creative talent. This investigation occurs by
employing a reader-guided textual analysis (Ytre-Arne 2011), a method that centralises fan
meaning-making by analysing the fan’s source text through these fan interpretations. I
argue that reader-guided textual analysis (Ytre-Arne 2011) allows us to better understand
how fans negotiate LGBT+ representation, how fans accept or reject these LGBT+
representations and the characters’ relationships. The implications lie not just in Fan Studies
methodologies and fan production, but also for Queer Theory’s ‘evaluative paradigm’ (Davis
and Needham 2009) or how Queer Theorist assess representations as either positive or
negative.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Art, Media and American Studies
Depositing User: Katie Miller
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2017 10:53
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2017 10:53
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/65120
DOI:

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