Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Communication Studies


Mass Communications.


Hildebrandt, K.




This thesis practically applied the cultural studies approach and explored two of the components thought relevant to resistance--the text and the audience. The objective was to examine audience sophistication in its engagement with a broadcast music video in order to investigate the nature and scope of audience resistance. A semiotic textual analysis was used to demonstrate that Madonna's Express Yourself video, though structured in dominance, is available for oppositional meanings about women. The semiotic analysis provided a description of the range and kinds of meanings about women the video could circulate. Findings showed that the reader's positioning in terms of feminism made a difference in what was perceived, interpreted and evaluated. The Express Yourself text was read on a number of interpretive levels (sex, love, economics/societal and gender politics) with varying degrees of consciousness (no understanding, literal understanding, individual level, group level and a gender political level of understanding). Traditional participants largely understood the video in a dominant way with patriarchal definitions of femininity and had a individual level of consciousness. Feminist participants were likely to interpret the video using an oppositional counter-patriarchal frame at the gender political level of consciousness. Feminists were much more likely to engage in resistant reading practices. The ethnographic interview method employed here not only provided access to participants' conscious opinions but to the linguistic terms used to construct and communicate understanding. The level of consciousness and thus the level of semiotic resistance was communicated in the graduated ability to articulate the oppositional frame. (Abstract shortened by UMI.) Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 32-02, page: 0381. Adviser: Kai Hildebrandt. Thesis (M.A.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1992.