Drag Narratives: Staged Gender, Embodiment, and Competition

Panapakidis, Konstantinos. 2012. Drag Narratives: Staged Gender, Embodiment, and Competition. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

Text (Drag Narratives: Staged Gender, Embodiment, and Competition)
SOC_thesis_Panapakidis_2012.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (27MB) | Preview

Abstract or Description

This thesis is the outcome of a practice-based research project into contemporary formations of gender and sexuality through the study of drag performance. It is composed of two elements, the film Dragging the Past (presented on a DVD) and this written text. The film offers a multi-layered view of the drag performances in Koukles Club, Athens, Greece. The written thesis offers sociological analysis of articulations of self, from both performers and audiences. The purpose of this thesis was to investigate productions of the self through the process of viewing, engaging, and performing in a drag show, and also to examine the ways in which subjects negotiate their gender during this process. Moreover, this study illuminates the deployment of drag narratives, by both drag performers and members of the audience, as tools to create a desired self, always in relation to the other.
A visual ethnography, that uses participant observation and video elicitation as key methods to gather empirical data, provides the foundation for this study. The ethnographic ‘I’ of the researcher combines with participants in the field and ‘together’ they produce ethnographic knowledge. Video elicitation interviews capture narratives of embodiment and competition; both film and text reflect that visual methods offer new perspectives on the way subjects form their gender and sexuality.
This study reveals productions of particular kinds of subjects, specifically those that perform gender in relation to the other, while engaged in the process of competition and embodiment (incarnation), while also interrupting and disrupting the other. These themes proved to be central to the narratives participants deployed to perform the self. Furthermore, this thesis demonstrates that photographs and the act of mirroring are important to the forming of gender and sexuality, as they become tools for the production of the self.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)


gender, sexuality, queer, gay, lesbian, transexual, travesti, transgender, drag, drag performance, drag show, embodiment, incarnation, competition, self performers, audiences, visual ethnography, video elicitation, visual methods, photographs, mirrors, video , film, documentary, Athens, Greece

Departments, Centres and Research Units:




Item ID:


Date Deposited:

25 Jan 2013 12:53

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 11:17



View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)