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Liberation within Normativity: Meaning-making Strategies of Young Women Watching Sex and the City
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology, The Social Sciences of Religion, Sociology of Religions. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, The Centre for the Study of Religion and Society.
2006 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper, based on a Master's thesis in Sociology of Religion at Uppsala University, addresses issues regarding gender, sexuality and love as well as television and meaning-making. The aim of the study was to see how young women watching Sex and the City would interpret and make meaning out of values and norms regarding gender, relationships and sexuality in the television show, and also to see whether the way the show pictured relationships and love could function as meaning-making or identity-making stories for the women to use to understand and make meaning out of their own experiences of love, relationships and being a woman.

Theoretical perspectives on the use of narrative and popular culture in identity-making are combined with Giddens' theory on the transformation of intimacy to give a frame for understanding how the stories of love and relationships in popular culture could be used to interpret and give meaning to people's own experiences. Identity and meaning-making are understood as processes that are not identical, but partly overlapping, and they are both reflexive projects of constant change, influenced by outer structures as well as individual choices.

The results of the study show how the young women use different strategies to negotiate between competing ideals or values present in Sex and the City as well as in their actual lives. The ideal of the “independent woman” is strong in the series, as well as a traditional romantic ideal for relationships, and these two ideals often clash. The two ideals both have important aspects regarding construction of gender and power. Results from the study also show that the women in several ways connect the stories of the show with their own lives, and use Sex and the City to interpret and make meaning out of their own experiences of relationships, gender and sexuality. They even describe the show as a “friend”, a place to find comfort, strength and support, and in that way function in different ways in their everyday life.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006.
Keywords [en]
identity, gender, meaning making, television, reception study
National Category
Religious Studies
Research subject
Sociology of Religion
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-120083OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-120083DiVA, id: diva2:302448
Conference
5th international conference on Media, Religion and Culture, Sigtuna, Sweden 5-7 July
Available from: 2010-03-08 Created: 2010-03-06 Last updated: 2017-01-25Bibliographically approved

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Axner, Marta

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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