Post-feminism in Italy and the legacy of Berlusconism: an analysis of media representations of female subjectivity and sexuality in the age of Berlusconi

Fegitz, Ella. 2018. Post-feminism in Italy and the legacy of Berlusconism: an analysis of media representations of female subjectivity and sexuality in the age of Berlusconi. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

In this research project, I address critical questions about Italian post-feminism, by
exploring the way the peculiarities of Italian media and culture have contributed in
producing a specifically Italian form of post-feminism. While a post-feminist
subjectivity, in terms of neoliberal, individualist, narcissist standards among young
women, has been observed and commented on by a few Italian authors, the important
relation between post-feminist sexuality and subjectivity, Berlusconi’s political and
cultural project, and the media has not yet been analysed in depth. To investigate this,
I employ a feminist postructuralist approach to the study of media and society, and
explore the way the media produces and reproduces discourses of gender and
sexuality that have circulated in Berlusconism. The thesis highlights how young
femininity has emerged in the national popular imagination as barometer of social
change, at the same time becoming subjected to increased scrutiny and policing. In
the first two chapters I discuss the theoretical framework and methodology of the
thesis. I then explore Berlusconi’s influence on media and politics (Chapter 3). I define
Berlusconi’s cultural and political hegemony in terms of a neoliberal authoritarian
populism, in which the media played a fundamental role by articulating
representations of femininity and female sexuality that work to secure the status quo
and existing relations of power. Following this, is the analysis of the case studies, in
which the connection between the legal system and the media provides a surface of
emergence for the figuration of post-feminist femininity. This is articulated through
cultural discourses about commercial sexuality (Chapter 4), phallicism (Chapter 5) and
mental health (Chapter 6). Ultimately, this research project sheds light on the way
media representations of femininity and female sexuality relate to Berlusconism,
where longstanding sexist and misogynist discourses have been accompanied by new
ones, integral to neoliberal governmentality.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.25602/GOLD.00023007

Keywords:

Post-feminism, Berlusconi, Italian media and culture, female subjectivity and sexuality, journalism

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies

Date:

31 January 2018

Item ID:

23007

Date Deposited:

05 Mar 2018 12:11

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:44

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/23007

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