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Title:Mother of the house of no shame: The queer economy of Rupaul’s Drag Race
Author(s):Faust, Ted R.
Director of Research:Hay, James
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Hay, James
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Cole, Cheryl L.; Rodriguez, Richard T.; Ciafone, Amanda
Department / Program:Inst of Communications Rsch
Discipline:Communications and Media
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):RuPaul
Drag Race
RuPaul's Drag Race
gay
queer
trans
transgender
lesbian
queer theory
gender
television
reality television
Foucault
technologies of the self
aesthetics
ethics
social media
YouTube
brands
gender performance
drag queens
LGBTQIA+
LGBT
political economy
Logo
Viacom
VH1
MTV
celebrity
capitalism
selfhood
entrepreneurship
commodity culture
popular culture
pop culture
history
queer history
gay history
Paris Is Burning
Pose
Abstract:In this dissertation, I consider the television show RuPaul’s Drag Race and the vast web of digital and broadcast media productions it has spawned, as a means to explore the changing cultural, technological, and economic conditions that have allowed for the emergence of a widespread queer media economy in which it is currently positioned as a central touchstone and engine of production and productivity. I seek to understand the history and evolution of the changing economics and production practices of the reality television genre that led to the emergence of (and have been deployed, tweaked, and recirculated by) the semi-satirical Drag Race; to better understand its position, as a “broadcast” cable television show, in a wider network of “new” and “spreadable” social media enterprises flowing into and out of it; to analyze the artistic, aesthetic, ethical and ascetic technologies of the self practiced by the contestants on the show, alongside a genealogical account of their origins in queer spaces and subcultures; and to explore the show’s position in a wider television landscape, asking how it is related to other programs of the current conjuncture, its technologization and commodification of a queer mode of belonging, and its relationships to virtual and material queer spaces as a globalized cultural technology. In this project, I hope to explicate a governmentality by which we learn to govern ourselves as sexual and gendered subjects, and which circuitously feeds into and off of the culture industries and post-industrial “creative” economic production more generally. By thinking through and theorizing a political economy of drag through its interconnections with the popular media that circulates particular variations of it, I am seeking to explore the ways that the technologies of the self - the means by which we learn to fashion and govern ourselves - are an essential part of a genealogy of a mode of production that defines the cultural, political, economic, and personal practices that define our current conjuncture.
Issue Date:2019-06-14
Type:Text
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/105599
Rights Information:Copyright 2019 Ted Faust
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-11-26
Date Deposited:2019-08


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