Date of Award

5-7-2016

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Department

Anthropology

First Advisor

Cassandra White

Abstract

This study examines the ways in which individuals mediate the institutionalization and embodiment of queer identities in the Carmilla fandom by manipulating transmedia networks. The research conducted expands upon Boellstorff’s (2015) methodology for virtual communities and Spitulnik’s (1993) theory of “media power”. Data was collected using three strategies: 1) quantitative surveys of 436 individuals, 2) five interviews, and 3) participant observation in the Carmilla fandom through social media. While Marxist and critical theorists assert that mass media is contextualized as needing to fulfil the needs of the dominant class through institutional legitimation, I propose that an inverse can be recognized in GSRM online communities, whereby transmedia mediates identity production and reproduction and provides agency and legitimation to GSRM representation. By examining Carmilla: The Series’ unconventional mediums and queer-driven narrative, this study hopes to gain a perspective into the importance of queer-normative representation in mass media and acknowledge ways in which minority online communities manufacture and reinforce identity.

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