Gender, Race and Ethnicity

Magazines and the Question of Self-Identity

Authored by: Cheryl Renée Gooch

The Routledge Handbook of Magazine Research

Print publication date:  June  2015
Online publication date:  June  2015

Print ISBN: 9781138854161
eBook ISBN: 9781315722283
Adobe ISBN: 9781317524533


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Among the most enduring questions raised by studies of magazine content and treatment of issues are the portrayals of women, men and people of diverse ethnic origins. Arguably one of the most prolific areas of study for contemporary scholars, research examines treatment and messages—both explicit and implicit—that appear in every dimension of the magazine form: editorial and advertising, verbal and visual. Contemporary research shows the issues are international, not just of concern to U.S. scholars and periodical content. Magazine studies by media scholars have used mostly established theoretical frameworks and approaches to inform research questions, often limiting the creation of knowledge and understanding of gender, race and ethnicity across broad, diverse sociocultural contexts. David Sumner posits that “a theoretical framework may not always be necessary or desirable in magazine research” 1 when seeking to construct models that predict behaviors of content producers or consumers. The research explored in this chapter indicates the need for diversified approaches to achieve more in-depth understanding of the human and sociological aspects of the issues under study. Armed with increasingly diverse theoretical perspectives and a growing body of empirical research, scholars examining gender, race and ethnicity are challenged to make sense of wide-ranging questions and measures as they plumb new aspects of the problems raised by periodical portrayals and assumptions about acceptable practices versus efforts to push the envelope. 2 This chapter explores and suggests improvements to approaches used to study the complexities of race, gender and ethnicity, and the question of self-identity in relation to magazines.

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