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Mediating queer masculinities through alternative music from Palestine

Withers, Polly ORCID: 0000-0002-5892-3305 (2024) Mediating queer masculinities through alternative music from Palestine. Feminist Media Studies. ISSN 1468-0777

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Identification Number: 10.1080/14680777.2024.2338414


Queer feminist media studies habitually overlooks how popular communications mediate same-sex sexualities beyond the global northwest. Thinking with this gap, this paper problematises mediated queerness in the Arab world. I use the case study of ‘alternative’ music in Israeli-dominated Palestine to theorise how far (or not) Palestinian vernacular modalities constitute a politics of sexuality above and below – although not necessarily in opposition to – the master-narratives of LGBTQ+ recognition, visibility, and the individual closet that often overshadow global commodity platforms. Drawing on my twenty-eight-month ethnography on 'alternative' music in Palestine, I explore how queer-identifying Palestinian musicians use music, drag, and performance videos to self-fashion gender and sexual identities, in the context of dominant, media-friendly visions of queerness on digital networks. Through close reading of Bashar Murad's 2021 song and video, "maskhara" (mockery), and via interviews and ethnographic data, I argue that music constitutes a shifting politics of sexual (in)visibility in Palestine. Musicians move between visible and invisible queer subject positions, depending on audience, locality, and framing. Expanding the field’s focus on Anglo-American sexual representations, then, the contribution theorises mediated queer cultural worldmaking in contexts of settler-colonisation and militarised occupation.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2024 The Author(s)
Divisions: Middle East Centre
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
H Social Sciences
Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2024 09:39
Last Modified: 15 May 2024 18:57

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