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Making Starbuck Monstrous: The Poetics of Othering in Battlestar Galactica
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of language studies.
2014 (English)In: Journal of Popular Culture, ISSN 0022-3840, E-ISSN 1540-5931, Vol. 47, no 4, 688-708 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Of all the acts of becoming in the re-imagined television series Battlestar Galactica (BSG), Kara “Starbuck” Thrace’s transformation from human being to monstrous “thing” is the most surprising and unquestionable production of otherness. The series depicts the ongoing conflict between humanity and their enemies the Cylons, an artificially created race of robotic soldiers and ships, cyborg-like Hybrids and organic humanoids. After the straightforward “human vs. machine,” “us vs. them” ideological positioning in the miniseries, the narrative in the following four seasons increasingly questions simplistic, essentialist conceptions of identity, suggesting that such ideas are socially naïve and untenable. However, in contrast to many other characters whose changing identities are accepted, Starbuck’s transformation isolates her in unexpected ways. In this essay, I argue that Starbuck becomes a monster because of a shift in how she is perceived: the tough girl is re-envisioned as an incomprehensible, irrational other through the lens of enduring feminine stereotypes. Once perceived as monstrous, she functions as an agent of social disruption that allows BSG to move back toward the simplistic ideology of essential difference emphasized earlier in the series. Her transformation indicates that contemporary monstrosity does not reside within a being but is socially developed and applied in order to maintain the status quo.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley-Blackwell, 2014. Vol. 47, no 4, 688-708 p.
Keyword [en]
monster, feminine, Battlestar Galactica, Starbuck
National Category
General Literature Studies Cultural Studies Other Humanities not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Literature; English
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-91800DOI: 10.1111/jpcu.12156ISI: 000343818800002OAI: diva2:738188
Available from: 2014-08-15 Created: 2014-08-15 Last updated: 2014-12-04Bibliographically approved

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Leavenworth, Van
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