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Because of rather than in spite of: ‘Friday Night Lights’ important cultural work of intersecting disability and masculinity

Ellis, K. (2012) Because of rather than in spite of: ‘Friday Night Lights’ important cultural work of intersecting disability and masculinity. IM: Interactive Media, 8 .

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Abstract

The 2006-2011 television series Friday Night Lights began with a storyline that featured Jason Street, an elite high school quarterback, becoming disabled. Usually, men with disability offer a straightforward media representation of a loss of masculinity and narratives consider personal triumphs “in spite of” this loss. For Garland Thomson (2007) conventional narrative genres conform to an image of bodily stability and perpetuate cultural fantasies of loss and relentless cure seeking rather than present stories “possible because of rather than in spite of disability”. She argues that presenting disability within the context of community and sexuality in particular can offer a different narrative of masculinity and structure a positive story. This paper considers the way the first season of Friday Night Lights rewrites the usual narrative of disability on television through Jason particularly in relation to community, sexuality and masculinity. This character marks a radical shift from other television characters with disability and offers a narrative because of rather than in spite of disability.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Media, Communication and Culture
Publisher: National Academy of Screen and Sound
Copyright: © IM/NASS 2012
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/64457
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