Policing paratexts
: hegemonic masculinity and the U.S transmedia cop drama

  • Ryan Taylor

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis explores the ways in which television has expanded beyond the ontological limits of its frame via transmedia storytelling and paratextual configurations. Moreover, by looking at the post-9/11 American cop drama (and specifically The Shield, 24, Dexter and Hannibal), this thesis argues that texts are made up of a range of fragments which are stitched together to form a textual tapestry. Each textual tapestry consists of a range of rubrics which filter or refract the ideological meaning of the textual whole, shaping the audience’s interpretative framework. This includes: elements within the text, such as representational strategies, cinematography, editing, mise-en-scène etc. (inner-textual rubrics); trans-textual (transmedia) elements; and extra-textual issues which exist outside of the textual tapestry, such as a writer’s oeuvre, generic conventions, or wider discursive frameworks. Crucially, these rubrics are not ideologically uniform and some fragments of the tapestry (what this thesis termed ‘proselytizing paratexts’) recruit or ‘interpellate’ the viewer within the text’s discursive logics, such as those which support the symbolic order and the hegemonic authority of the White male. Conversely, other textual fragments (computer games, mobisodes, ARGs etc.), what this thesis has termed ‘pluralistic paratexts’, provide a space wherein peripheral perspectives and diverse identities can articulate their multi-accentuality (undermining White male hegemonic authority rather than solidifying it). In doing so, a ‘paratextual dialectic’ is created and it is through this that one can understand the text’s discursive function
Date of AwardJul 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Portsmouth
SupervisorLincoln Geraghty (Supervisor) & David Garland (Supervisor)

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