By Geraldine Harris
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Additional resources for Beyond Representation: Television Drama and the Politics and Aesthetics of Identity
As Fiske acknowledges, both Barthes and Eco actually define the writerly or open text in terms of ‘avant-garde highbrow ones with minority appeal’, in opposition to the readerly text, which ‘approximates to what MacCabe calls the “classic realist text” and which for Eco are those characteristically produced by the mass media’ (Fiske, 1991: 94). For Fiske, the difference between the avant-garde writerly and/or radical text and the popular producerly television text is that the latter does not work with ‘an authorial voice’, or ‘shock’ the reader into recognition of the text’s discursive structure, and does not require new discursive competencies.
Butler then points to various strategies of ‘subversive repetition’ occurring within literary texts but also within drag performance and crossdressing. In the case of the former, this subversion appears to depend on formal devices that bear some resemblance to those of the ‘feminine aesthetic’ cited above, and in the latter, to those found within a generalised postmodern aesthetic (see Chapter 1). Responding to Gender Trouble, Susan Bordo accused Butler and other postmodern feminists of treating the body as an ‘abstract linguistic structure’ and of being so ‘intoxicated with interpretative and creative possibilities of cultural analysis’ that they neglect ‘to ask themselves what is actually going on in the culture around them’ (Bordo, 1995: 292 and 295).
Qxd 20/7/06 11:35 AM Page 39 Phil's G4 Phil's G4:Users:phil:Public The end(s) of feminism(s)? 39 partly concerned with examining the way in which even if the historical ‘norms’ of the sex/gender system are ‘regulatory fictions’, they nonetheless continue to have concrete and embodied effects (Butler, 1993: 10). Yet Butler does focus largely on the textual, and it should be noted that while she does attend to differences of race and class, she tends to do so through the categories of sex and sexuality (see Chapter 5).
Beyond Representation: Television Drama and the Politics and Aesthetics of Identity by Geraldine Harris