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  • 1.
    Wälivaara, Josefine
    Umeå universitet, Humanistiska fakulteten, Institutionen för kultur- och medievetenskaper.
    Dreams of a subversive future: sexuality, (hetero)normativity, and queer potential in science fiction film and television2016Doktoravhandling, monografi (Annet vitenskapelig)
    Abstract [en]

    The aim of the thesis is to explore depictions of sexuality in popular science fiction film and television through a focus on storytelling, narrative, characters and genre. The thesis analyses science fiction as a film and television genre with a focus on the conventions, interpretations, and definitions of genre as part of larger contexts. Central to the argumentation is films and television series, from Star Wars and Star Trek, to Firefly and Torchwood. The approach allows a consideration of how the storytelling conventions of science fiction are, and have been, affected by its contexts. Through a consideration of a historical de-emphasis on narrative complexity and character formation in science fiction, the thesis displays and analyses a salient tendency towards juvenile and heteronormative narratives. This tendency is represented by a concept that I call the Star’verses, through which this dominant idea of science fiction as a juvenile, techno-centred, masculine, and heteronormative genre became firmly established. This generic cluster has remained a dominant influence on science fiction film and television since the 1980s. However, as argued, a major discursive shift took place in science fiction at the turn of the millennium. This adult turn in science fiction film, and television in particular, is attributed to contextual changes, but also to the influence of television dramaturgy. It explains why science fiction in the 21st century is not as unfamiliar with depictions of sexuality as its predecessors were. This turn does not signal a total abandonment of what the Star’verses represent; it instead contributes to a change to this dominant idea of the generic identity of science fiction.

    While sexuality has been disassociated from much science fiction, it is also argued that the science fiction narrative has extensive queer potential. Generic conventions, such as aliens and time travel, invite both queer readings and queer storytelling; the latter however is seldom used, especially in science fiction film. A majority of the examples of science fiction narrative that use this queer potential can be found in television. In cinema, however, this progression is remarkably slow. Therefore, the thesis analyses whether the storytelling techniques of Hollywood cinema, to which science fiction film owes much of its dramaturgy, could be considered heteronormative. A comparison is made to television dramaturgy in order to display the possibilities for the serialised, character-focused science fiction narrative. Ultimately, the thesis investigate the possibility for subversive storytelling and whether a normative use of dramaturgy needs to be overthrown in order to tell a subversive story.

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  • 2.
    Wälivaara, Josefine
    Umeå universitet, Humanistiska fakulteten, Institutionen för idé- och samhällsstudier.
    Marginalized Bodies of Imagined Futurescapes: Ableism and Heteronormativity in Science Fiction2018Inngår i: Culture Unbound. Journal of Current Cultural Research, ISSN 2000-1525, E-ISSN 2000-1525, Vol. 10, nr 2, s. 226-245Artikkel i tidsskrift (Fagfellevurdert)
    Abstract [en]

    This article aims to contribute to an understanding of marginalized bodies in science fiction narratives by analyzing how physical disability and homosexuality/bisexuality have been depicted in popular science fiction film and television. Specifically, it analyzes what types of futures are evoked through the exclusion or inclusion of disability and homo/bisexuality. To investigate these futurescapes, in for example Star Trek and The Handmaid’s Tale, the paper uses film analysis guided by the theoretical approach of crip/queer temporality mainly in dialogue with disability/crip scholar Alison Kafer.

    Although narratives about the future in popular fiction occasionally imagines futures in which disability and homo/bisexuality exist the vast majority do not. This article argues that exclusion of characters with disabilities and homo/bisexual characters in imagined futures of science fiction perpetuate heteronormative and ableist normativity. It is important that fictional narratives of imagined futures do not limit portrayals to heterosexual and able-bodied people but, instead, take into account the ableist and heteronormative imaginaries that these narratives, and in extension contemporary society, are embedded in.

    Moreover, it is argued that in relation to notions of progression and social inclusion in imagined futurescapes portrayals of homo/bisexuality and disability has been used as narrative devices to emphasis “good” or “bad” futures. Furthermore, homo/bisexuality has increasingly been incorporated as a sign of social inclusion and progression while disability, partly due to the perseverance of a medical understanding of disability, instead is used as a sign of a failed future. However, the symbolic value ascribed to these bodies in stories are based on contemporary views and can thus change accordingly. To change the way the future is envisioned requires challenging how different types of bodies, desires, and notions of normativity are thought about. Sometimes imaginary futures can aid in rethinking and revaluating these taken-for-granted notions of normativity.

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  • 3.
    Wälivaara, Josefine
    Umeå universitet, Humanistiska fakulteten, Institutionen för kultur- och medievetenskaper.
    Welcome to Buffydale: Mutual Construction of Bodies and Space in Buffy the Vampire Slayer2016Inngår i: Slayage: The Journal of the Whedon Studies Association, ISSN 1546-9212, Vol. 14, nr 2Artikkel i tidsskrift (Fagfellevurdert)
    Abstract [en]

    By using space as an analytical tool for narratives, the article introduces the concept of Buffydale as a way to make visible the relationship between space and body in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The article focuses on how Sunnydale and Buffy mutually construct one another and on the intimate relationship between the two. In addition, it analyses how this conjunction into Buffydale further can be understood as pivotal to the other characters—in particular the vampiric body and its relationship to queer space and time. Through a comparative analysis between the alternative universe depicted in the episodes "The Wish" and "Doppelgangland" and the primary universe otherwise depicted in the series, the article aims to display this mutual construction of body and space. Insights into spatial and corporal issues of narratives grants a new perspective on a well-researched object of study such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

  • 4.
    Wälivaara, Josefine
    Umeå universitet, Humanistiska fakulteten, Institutionen för kultur- och medievetenskaper.
    "You people and your quaint little categories": märkliga kategorier och den snåriga relationen mellan teori, metod och material2012Inngår i: Mitt i metoden: kulturvetenskapliga reflektioner / [ed] Bo Nilsson & Anna Sofia Lundgren, Umeå: Institutionen för kultur- och medievetenskaper, Umeå universitet , 2012, s. 107-118Kapittel i bok, del av antologi (Annet vitenskapelig)
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    "You people and your quaint little categories": märkliga kategorier och den snåriga relationen mellan teori, metod och material
  • 5.
    Wälivaara, Josefine
    et al.
    Umeå universitet, Humanistiska fakulteten, Institutionen för idé- och samhällsstudier.
    Ljuslinder, Karin
    Umeå universitet, Humanistiska fakulteten, Institutionen för kultur- och medievetenskaper.
    (Im)Possible Lives and Love: Disability and Crip Temporality in Swedish Cinema2020Inngår i: Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research, ISSN 1501-7419, E-ISSN 1745-3011, Vol. 22, nr 1, s. 80-87Artikkel i tidsskrift (Fagfellevurdert)
    Abstract [en]

    As previous research has shown, people with disabilities often have restricted access to adulthood and its corresponding life events (including sexuality, partnership and parenthood), both in society and in popular cultural representations. This article analyzes five contemporary Swedish fiction films with protagonists with disabilities in order to consider how and in what ways they depict romantic relationships, sexuality, and reproduction as manifestations of adulthood in normative time and life course. The aim is to analyze if ableist norms related to time, adulthood, and sexuality is confirmed or challenged in these films. Four of the five films confirmed the ableist norm and used normalizing strategies to assimilate the disability position into normative life course and timeline. One of the films challenged the ableist implications of the normative timeline thus providing the possibility of crip time. Given media representations’ powerful dissemination of cultural values it is of great importance to scrutinize its underlying cultural values.

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