Australian queer student activists' media representations of queer

Rodgers, Jessica (2010) Australian queer student activists' media representations of queer. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Queer student activists are a visible aspect of Australian tertiary communities. Institutionally there are a number of organisations and tools representing and serving gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and ‘otherwise queer identifying’ (GLBTIQ) students. ‘Queer’ is a contentious term with meanings ranging from a complex deconstructive academic theory to a term for ‘gay’. Despite the institutional applications, the definition remains unclear and under debate. In this thesis I examine queer student activists’ production of print media, a previously under-researched area. In queer communities, print media provides crucial grounding for a model of queer. Central to identity formation and activism, this media is a site of textuality for the construction and circulation of discourses of queer student media. Thus, I investigate the various ways Australian queer student activists construct queer, queer identity, and queer activism in their print media. I use discourse analysis, participant observation and semi-structured interviews to enable a thorough investigation of both the process and the products of queer student media. My findings demonstrate that queer student activists’ politics are grounded in a range of ideologies drawing from Marxism, Feminism, Gay Liberation, Anti-assimilation and Queer Theory. Grounded in queer theoretical perspectives of performativity this research makes relatively new links between Queer Theory and Media Studies in its study of the production contexts of queer student media. In doing so, I show how the university context informs student articulations of queer, proving the necessity to locate research within its social-cultural setting. My research reveals that, much like Queer Theory, these representations of queer are rich with paradox. I argue that queer student activists are actually theorising queer. I call for a reconceptualisation of Queer Theory and question the current barriers between who is considered a ‘theorist’ of queer and who is an ‘activist’. If we can think about ‘theory’ as encompassing the work of activists, what implications might this have for politics and analysis?

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ID Code: 41528
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Collis, Christy & Hadley, Bree
Keywords: queer activism, student activism, Australian queer activism, queer media, community media, student media, activist media, queer history, queer theory
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 29 Apr 2011 06:20
Last Modified: 22 May 2013 23:47

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