Being a tourist in the geographies of power: cross-dressing performance in Turkish cinema

Dabak, Burcu (2018) Being a tourist in the geographies of power: cross-dressing performance in Turkish cinema. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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This thesis is the first scholarly work to bring together a detailed examination of cross-dressing films in Turkish cinema in conjunction with military coups, offering a new perspective on cross-dressing films of Turkish cinema by placing them within the social and cultural context in which they were made. It is suggested that cross-dressing characters in films promise and provide opportunities, which I call the effects of cross-dressing gender performance, which can be read as strategies for handling the national and personal traumas associated with military coups. In order to establish this relationship between military coups and cross-dressing films, the concept of ontological security, as developed by Anthony Giddens, is used, arguing that a military coup disrupts ontological security at the level of the state by destroying the continuity, coherence, and stability of routines. In parallel, cross-dressing gender performance in films disrupts ontological security at an individual level by its effects on the characters. The primary effect is that cross-dressing performance provides mobility to its performer not only between the gender binary but also on the map of all kinds of power relations. By means of gender unintelligibility, cross-dressing characters can transform other forms of identity – class, ethnicity, religion, and the institutions of power – time, space and language. Indeed, cross dressing characters in films function in ways which complicate our understanding of all categorisations. In order to discuss this mobility of the cross-dressing character, I use the Deleuzian concept of becoming. Second, cross-dressing performance involves being visible but not recognisable, thereby allowing characters to escape surveillance. I discuss this effect through Bakhtin’s concept of the grotesque. Third, cross-dressing gender performance involves experiencing otherness without being other, which is explained by the concept of the carnivalesque. It is my contention in this thesis that these three effects of cross-dressing fracture the elements of ontological security, time and space, language, and identity, and in these fractures, the cross-dressing character not only finds a way to overcome the crises which are caused by national traumas but also makes visible the discourses which are embedded in these institutions. By making connections between military coups and cross-dressing films within the context of Turkey and its cinema, the thesis employs close textual analysis and discourse analysis around the narratives of these films.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Film and Television Studies (former - to 2012)
Depositing User: Users 9280 not found.
Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2019 15:03
Last Modified: 10 Feb 2021 11:27

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