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The Linguistic Staging of Euro-Sexualities in the Eurovision Song Contest

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The Linguistic Staging of Euro-Sexualities in the Eurovision Song Contest

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  1. The Linguistic Staging ofEuro-Sexualities in the Eurovision Song Contest Presentation at the Workshop "Language and Sexuality: (through and) beyond gender" (Mytilene/Lesvos, GREECE; June 7th, 2008) Dr. Heiko Motschenbacher (Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main, GERMANY)

  2. Linguistic Staging of Euro-Sexualities in the Eurovision Song Contest INTRODUCTION: Sexual and Gender Identities in the Eurovision Song Contest 2008 Gendered Song titles: CYP 2008: "Femme fatale" by Evdokia Kadi AND 2008: "Casanova" by Gisela UKR 2008: "Shady lady" by Ani Lorak FIN 2008: "Missä miehet ratsastaa" ("Where men ride forth") by Teräsbetoni SWE 2008: "Hero" by Charlotte Perrelli POR 2008: "Senhora do mar" ("Lady of the sea") by Vânia Fernandes

  3. Linguistic Staging of Euro-Sexualities in the Eurovision Song Contest • Post-Doc Research Project: "The Discursive Construction of National, European and Sexual Identities in the ESC" 1.) Production side: ESC lyrics 2.) Reception side: ESC fan communities 1a) quantitative analyses 1b) qualitative analyses

  4. Linguistic Staging of Euro-Sexualities in the Eurovision Song Contest The Linguistic Staging of Euro-Sexualities Eurovision Song Contest 1 Theoretical Framework 2 Mechanisms of Linguistic Identity Construction in the ESC 2.1. Language and Identity 2.2. Camp 2.3. Performativity 2.4. Linguistic Manifestations of National Camp Potential 2.5. Linguistic Manifestations of European Camp Potential 2.6. Linguistic Manifestations of Sexual Camp Potential 2.7. Interrelation between National, European and Sexual Identities 2.8. Competing Discourses 3 Conclusion

  5. Linguistic Staging of Euro-Sexualities in the Eurovision Song Contest 1 Theoretical Framework Eurolinguistics (cf. Haarmann 1999) Critical Discourse Analysis (cf. Fairclough 2003) Feminist Poststructuralist Discourse Analysis (cf. Baxter 2003) Language & Sexuality (cf. Cameron & Kulick 2003) Queer Theory (cf. Sullivan 2003) * "Queer" as a concept without an essence, rather a positionality opposed to normative practices of all kinds (problematising agenda) * Exposing identities as effects of (linguistic) discursive construction

  6. Linguistic Staging of Euro-Sexualities in the Eurovision Song Contest Why these theoretical approaches? * Plurality of theoretical approaches as a poststructuralist premise * Politically motivated research: "linguistics with an attitude" * Centrality of identity * Main challenges: a) Integration of Eurolinguistics as a structuralist approach b) Integration of Queer Theory as the "least linguistic" approach

  7. Linguistic Staging of Euro-Sexualities in the Eurovision Song Contest 2.1 Language and Identity (cf. Joseph 2004) Traditional variationist approaches see identity as pre-existent and reflected in language use. More recent approaches see identity as discursively constructed in language use: Interactional sociolinguistics, poststructuralist linguistics.

  8. Linguistic Staging of Euro-Sexualities in the Eurovision Song Contest 2.2 Camp (cf. Sontag 1964; Cleto 1999) * Camp as an alternative mode of aestheticism: focus not on beauty/good art but on artificiality ("it's good because it's so artificial") * Stylisation practices that are so exaggerated that they expose the constructive mechanism behind identities: Being as playing a role * Linguistic study of camp talk as indexing male homosexual identity (cf. Harvey 2002)  Other identity facets apart from sexual identity have been neglected so far!

  9. Linguistic Staging of Euro-Sexualities in the Eurovision Song Contest 2.3 Performativity (cf. Butler 1993) * Linguistic features index identities due to their performative history: indexicality * Guiding question: How can certain social identities be constructed through language? * Linguistic features as traces of camp potential * ESC: exaggerated constructions of national, European, sexual identities within a three-minute time frame  parodistic construction

  10. Linguistic Staging of Euro-Sexualities in the Eurovision Song Contest Constructing National, Pan-European and Sexual Identities in ESC Performances: Sample Year 2007 Marija Šerifović performing "Molitva" ("Prayer") for Serbia in 2007 * Data: Corpus of ESC lyrics, compiled with the help of the website "Diggiloo Thrush": www.diggiloo.net/

  11. Linguistic Staging of Euro-Sexualities in the Eurovision Song Contest 2.4 Linguistic Manifestations of National Camp Potential * Language choice: national languages Example: - GER 2007 (Roger Cicero – Frauen regier'n die Welt) * Lexical nation-building: reference to national geographic entities, famous national people etc. Example: - FRA 2007 (Les Fatals Picards – L‘amour à la française)  References to "Paris", "Tour Eiffel", "Seine", "Champs Élysées", "Moulin Rouge"

  12. Linguistic Staging of Euro-Sexualities in the Eurovision Song Contest 2.5 Linguistic Manifestations of European Camp Potential * Language choice: non-national European languages Sample Year 2007 (out of 42 performances): 31 used English, 4 French, 3 Spanish, 2 Italian, 2 Russian, 1 German * Lexical Euro-construction: non-national entities from the European cultural realm Example: - UK 2007 (Scooch – Flying the flag (for you)): "London to Berlin All the way from Paris to Tallinn Helsinki on to Prague Don't matter where we are" * Transnational lexical items: anglicisms, internationalisms Example: - GER 2007 (Roger Cicero – Frauen regier'n die Welt):  Use of anglicisms "Boss", "Actionheld"

  13. Linguistic Staging of Euro-Sexualities in the Eurovision Song Contest 2.6 Linguistic Manifestations of Sexual Camp Potential a) Linguistic construction of sexual desire: desiring subject, desired object and their relationship * Gender-specificity vs. gender ambiguity * Dependency on language structure: languages with or without grammatical gender * lexical genderisation: forms that carry semantic feature [female] or [male], especially personal nouns (woman/man) or third person singular pronouns (he/she) Example: - BUL 2007 (Elitsa Todorova & Stoyan Yankoulov – Water) "More, ludo mlado, konče jazdi Lo, a reckless lad, riding his pony Mitre le, ij... Mitre le Oh Mitra, eeh... oh Mitra More, konče jazdi, moma ljubi Lo, riding his pony, loving his lass Mitre le, ij... Mitre le" Oh Mitra, eeh... oh Mitra

  14. Linguistic Staging of Euro-Sexualities in the Eurovision Song Contest 2.6 Linguistic Manifestations of Sexual Camp Potential (cont.) * Contextual gender disambiguation of lexically gender-neutral forms:  First person forms are referentially gendered  Second person forms may be referentially gendered if the addressee is part of the stage performance  All neutral personal reference forms may be disambiguated through the co-text Example 1: Heterosexual gender disambiguation: - HUN 2007 (Magdi Rúzsa – Unsubstantial Blues): "You're such a casual man, oh, wavin' an empty hand [you-M] I'm helpless and I'm lonely without you" [I-f]

  15. Linguistic Staging of Euro-Sexualities in the Eurovision Song Contest 2.6 Linguistic Manifestations of Sexual Camp Potential (cont.) Example 2: Ambiguous gender construction of desired object: - BLR 2007 (Koldun – Work Your Magic): "Work your magic [you] You set my beating heart in motion [you & I-m] When you cast your loving potion over me" [you & I-m] b) Linguistic construction of sexual identities * Subversive constructions of gender mismatch index non-heteronormativity Examples: - DAN 2007 (DQ – Drama Queen): "I'm your drama queen tonight." [I-m-F] - UKR 2007 (Verka Serduchka – Dancing Lasha Tumbai): "My name is Verka Serduchka." [I-m-F]

  16. Linguistic Staging of Euro-Sexualities in the Eurovision Song Contest 2.7 Interrelation between National, European and Sexual Identities  Tendencies: * Decrease of national camp (e.g. abolishment of "national language rule" in 1999) * Increase of European and sexual camp

  17. Linguistic Staging of Euro-Sexualities in the Eurovision Song Contest 2.7 Interrelation between National, European and Sexual Identities

  18. Linguistic Staging of Euro-Sexualities in the Eurovision Song Contest 2.7 Interrelation between National, European and Sexual Identities

  19. Linguistic Staging of Euro-Sexualities in the Eurovision Song Contest 2.7 Interrelation between National, European and Sexual identities Linguistic construction of sexual identities in ESC 2007

  20. Linguistic Staging of Euro-Sexualities in the Eurovision Song Contest 2.7 Interrelation between National, European and Sexual Identities Correlation with languages:

  21. Linguistic Staging of Euro-Sexualities in the Eurovision Song Contest 3 Conclusion * Interrelation between national, European and sexual identities * Poststructuralist formation of a new pan-European identity: a) directly: via European camp b) indirectly: via weakening of national identities c) indirectly: via higher openness of sexual identities * Central role of English in that process: a) as a pan-European lingua franca (especially non-natively) b) as a language that allows for gender ambiguity

  22. Contact Details: Dr. Heiko MotschenbacherEmail: Motschenbacher@em.uni-frankfurt.de Institute for English and American Studies (IEAS), Linguistics DepartmentJohann Wolfgang Goethe-UniversityGrüneburgplatz 1, 60629 Frankfurt am Main, GERMANYRoom 3.217Tel.: (+49) 69 798 32532Fax: (+49) 69 798 32531 www.quinguistics.de

  23. References I: Barrett, Rusty: "Is queer theory important for sociolinguistic theory?" In: Campbell-Kibler, Kathryn; Podesva, Robert J.; Roberts, Sarah J.; Wong, Andrew (eds.): Language and Sexuality. Contesting Meaning in Theory and Practice. Stanford, CA (CSLI) 2002. 25-43. Baxter, Judith: Positioning Gender in Discourse. A Feminist Methodology. Basingstoke (Palgrave Macmillan) 2003. Butler, Judith: Excitable Speech. A Politics of the Performative. New York (Routledge) 1997. Cameron, Deborah; Kulick, Don: Language and Sexuality. Cambridge (Cambridge UP) 2003. Cleto, Fabio: "Introduction: Queering the camp." In: Cleto, Fabio (ed.): Camp: Queer Aesthetics and the Performing Subject. A Reader. Ann Arbor, MI (University of Michigan Press) 1999. 1-42. Cleto, Fabio: "Camp." In: Gerstner, David A. (ed.): Routledge International Encyclopedia of Queer Culture. London (Routledge) 2006. 121-124. Fairclough, Norman: Analysing Discourse. Textual Analysis for Social Research. London (Routledge) 2003. Fraser, Nancy: "Rethinking the public sphere: A contribution to the critique of actually existing democracy." In: Calhoun, Craig (ed.): Habermas and the Public Sphere. Cambridge, MA (MIT) 1992. 109-142.

  24. References II: Haarmann, Harald: "Eurolinguistik, europäische Kulturwissenschaft und Europaforschung." In: Reiter, Norbert (ed.): Eurolinguistik. Ein Schritt in die Zukunft. Wiesbaden (Harrassowitz) 1999. 11-39. Harvey, Keith: "Camp talk and citationality: A queer take on 'authentic' and 'represented' utterance." Journal of Pragmatics 34.9 (2002): 1145-1165. Joseph, John E.: Language and Identity. National, Ethnic, Religious. Basingstoke (Palgrave Macmillan) 2004. Le Page, Robert B.; Tabouret-Keller, Andrée: Acts of Identity : Creole-Based Approaches to Language and Ethnicity. Cambridge (Cambridge UP) 1985. Nelson, Cynthia: "Sexual identities in ESL: Queer theory and classroom inquiry." TESOL Quarterly 33.3 (1999): 371-391. Sontag, Susan: "Notes on 'camp'." [1964] In: Cleto, Fabio (ed.): Camp: Queer Aesthetics and the Performing Subject. A Reader. Ann Arbor, MI (University of Michigan Press) 1999. 53-65. Sullivan, Nikki: A Critical Introduction to Queer Theory. New York (New York UP) 2003. Wodak, Ruth: "National and transnational identities: European and other identities constructed in interviews with EU officials." In: Herrmann, Richard K.; Risse, Thomas; Brewer, Marilynn B. (eds.): Transnational Identities. Becoming European in the EU. Lanham, MD (Rowman & Littlefield) 2004. 97-128.