Escaping the honeytrap: representations and ramifications of the female spy on television since 1965

Burrows, Karen K (2015) Escaping the honeytrap: representations and ramifications of the female spy on television since 1965. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

My thesis interrogates the changing nature of the espionage genre on Western television
since the middle of the Cold War. It uses close textual analysis to read the progressions
and regressions in the portrayal of the female spy, analyzing where her representation
aligns with the achievements of the feminist movement, where it aligns with popular
political culture of the time, and what happens when the two factors diverge. I ask what
the female spy represents across the decades and why her image is integral to
understanding the portrayal of gender on television.

I explore four pairs of television shows from various eras to demonstrate the importance of
the female spy to the cultural landscape. These shows represent the female spy's birth in
the era of the sexual revolution, her rise as a feminist career woman, and the post-9/11
restrictions on who is allowed to serve the country. I argue that the conflation of nation
and family that occurs in each show serves to elevate the primacy of the heterosexual
reproductive unit, challenging the outwardly-progressive representation of the apparently
feminist spy figure. Analyzed in concert, these shows reveal the conservative bent of the
espionage genre despite the higher visibility of its female protagonists.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Film and Music > Media and Film
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2016 09:43
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2016 09:43
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/65844

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