Prince: negotiating the meanings of femininity in the mid-1980s

Niblock, Sarah Anne (2005) Prince: negotiating the meanings of femininity in the mid-1980s. PhD thesis, Middlesex University.

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Abstract

This thesis will critically evaluate the most abiding theories of female subjective development, in order to gain a deeper understanding of the complexity and autonomy of femininity. There has been a general paucity of scholarly interrogation of female subjectivity and female consumption in both
psychoanalysis and Cultural Studies. This investigation offers much-needed, original insights into an area that has received very little academic attention since the 1970s and 1980s. In order to do this, the thesis will utilise psychoanalytical
and Cultural Studies approaches to reflexively analyse the impact of the visual figure of the pop star Prince on his young female fans in the mid-1980s.

Prince's enormous appeal to his young female fans in Britain was orchestrated predominantly on the visual plane. Although his musical talent was self-evident, his visual signification was his most striking intervention into contemporary debates on gender relations at a significant moment of cultural shift in gender relations. Psychoanalytically-informed analyses of female fans' responses to Prince's visual signification will identify an active and productive female subject. Such accounts are important in contradicting prominent Cultural
Studies conceptualisations of female consumption of popular cultural texts, which render femininity as passive.

The thesis will argue that the psychoanalytical and the cultural need articulating together in order to develop a convincing model of female autonomy and identification. That is, the inner and the outer of female subjectivity require
simultaneous interrogation, if we are to make sense of how Prince's female fans consumed and negotiated his identity. In this way, female sUbjectivity might be understood as being an articulation of inner psychodynamics of subject formation and the social world of cultural meaning and signification.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Research Areas: B. > Theses
Item ID: 13625
Depositing User: Adam Miller
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2015 14:53
Last Modified: 03 Apr 2019 15:40
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/13625

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