Nailed ! a Quantitative Study of Gender and Racial Representations in Cop-Shows

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 09:15
Location: Hörsaal I (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Mathieu ARBOGAST, Ehess/IMM-Cems ; Paris-ouest Nanterre/Cresppa-GTM, France
Legal boundaries between male and female occupations faded, but the social representations of gender traits and gender roles division between men and women die hard. Police women hence seem to be the ultimate « tough girls » (Inness) who definitely « trouble » gender boundaries (Butler, Tabet), in the utmost virile job (Pruvost).

How do tv series show police women (Mizejewski), and what does it say about social norms representations ? Are female characters different according to their race (Beauboeuf-Lafontant)?

Nurtured by a tradition of quantitative surveys on tv programs (Gerbner, Lauzen, Macé...), and population surveys improvements (Westbrook & Saperstein) we question how intersectionning gender and race relations work in the 21stcentury television cop-shows. Such shows add up to 24% of programming slots of French Prime Time networks (2010, our data).

The complexity of appearance description is central in our work (Holt & Ellis, Thoma & alii). Our questionnaire includes several items about gender and sexualisation, along with a categorisation of the perceived race, as implemented in demographic survey « trajectories and origins » (Ined) : either coded as part of the « majority » or « minority » population. Such a binary code fits in with programs from any country and allows comparative analysis.

Our doctoral research corpus (36 series) allow quantitative analysis and regressions, on a particular year as well as a pseudo-cohort longitudinal analysis over the seasons. One third of female characters is too high and too low a proportion to rule out tokenism hypothesis. Our hypothesis are that crossing physical appearance (racial, sexual, body shape), personality, and behaviour (gun use, relation to violence, parenting) would confirm gender inequalities on one side, but show a broad range of individual settings on the other (Connell, Halberstam).

Our research combines gender studies and cultural studies, focussing on the characters considered as a population (Chalvon-Demersay, Brugeilles), in a particular industry (Gitlin).