Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Rhetorical Analysis of Hegemonic and Counterhegemonic Performances in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)
by Ohlsen, David Blond, M.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2017, 93; 10604427
Abstract (Summary)

A global entertainment powerhouse with millions of fans, WWE produces and archives thousands of hours of content every year that is often dismissed as low brow, incomprehensible, base, and/or harmless. However, WWE content is guilty of propitiating heteronormativity, binary gender construction, and the exploitation, repression, and erasure of LGBTQ+ culture.

I argue that the pro wrestling personae that perform in the fictional WWE universe are perfect embodiments of Judith Butler’s theory of performativity, as evidenced in how the gender and sexuality of these often fluid and paradoxical personae are discursively constructed. This thesis also analyzes ironic and transcendent counterhegemonic performances by personae that can be read as rupturing WWE’s repressive, heteronormative hegemony, as informed by Kenneth Burke. This thesis is an analysis of the counterhegemonic personae Nia Jax, Tyler Breeze, Bayley, and Chris Jericho based on their appearances in primary WWE content between 2 January, 2017 and 25 April, 2017.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Downey, Sharon
Commitee: Heyse, Amy, Pfister, Raven
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Communication Studies
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 57/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, Communication, LGBTQ studies
Keywords: Bayley, Chris jericho, Gender, Nia jax, Performativity, Pro wrestling, Sexuality (lgbtq+), Tyler breeze, World wrestling entertainment
Publication Number: 10604427
ISBN: 978-0-355-25231-6
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