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Non-normative Family on Children's Television: Queering Kinship, Temporality and Reproduction on Steven Universe
Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies, The Department of Gender Studies.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this Master’s thesis is to examine queer aspects of the animated television show Steven Universe (2013-present), created by Rebecca Sugar and produced by Cartoon Network. Situating Steven Universe in the context of Cartoon Network and children’s animation in general, and drawing on queer theory, as well as feminist cultural studies and kinship studies, the thesis aims to contribute to understanding of non-normative family representation in children’s entertainment. Through a close reading of the material, the thesis explores how Steven Universe queers the notion of family. It focuses on the show’s depiction of kinship, temporality and reproduction, and examines how each of these aspects subverts reproduces different modes of normativity. In Steven Universe, the family of the main character, Steven, is depicted as socially unintelligible, and as a mixture of biological and chosen kinship, highlighting the importance of both. It places great emphasis on being accepted by one’s family and community, and I discuss how this message can be both empowering and undermining. Steven’s family mostly inhabits queer time and does not give in to chrononormative structures. However, I also explore and critically evaluate parts of the series in which queer temporality is provisionally replaced by chrononormativity and striving for maturity. Finally, Steven Universe queers reproduction, by defamiliarizing the notion of (hetero)sexual reproduction and providing other alternatives for reproduction and motherhood. In general, the depiction of family on Steven Universe is characterized by transgressing multiple dichotomies and by having a complex relationship to different modes of normativity, by both resisting them and engaging in them.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 67
Keywords [en]
queer family, queer temporality, queer kinship, queer reproduction, normativity, Steven Universe, Cartoon Network, children’s animation
National Category
Gender Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-150390ISRN: LIU-THEME-G/GSIC2-A-18/002-SEOAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-150390DiVA, id: diva2:1240584
Subject / course
Gender Studies - Intersectionality and Change, Two Year
Supervisors
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Available from: 2018-08-22 Created: 2018-08-21 Last updated: 2018-08-22Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • oxford
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
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  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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