The whiteness of David Bowie

Redmond, Sean 2015, The whiteness of David Bowie. In Redmond, Sean, Cinque, Toija and Moore, Christopher (ed), Enchanting David Bowie: Space/Time/Body/Memory, Bloomsbury, New York, N. Y., pp.215-230.

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Title The whiteness of David Bowie
Author(s) Redmond, SeanORCID iD for Redmond, Sean orcid.org/0000-0002-1460-8610
Title of book Enchanting David Bowie: Space/Time/Body/Memory
Editor(s) Redmond, SeanORCID iD for Redmond, Sean orcid.org/0000-0002-1460-8610
Cinque, ToijaORCID iD for Cinque, Toija orcid.org/0000-0001-9845-3953
Moore, Christopher
Publication date 2015
Chapter number 11
Total chapters 16
Start page 215
End page 230
Total pages 15
Publisher Bloomsbury
Place of Publication New York, N. Y.
Keyword(s) Whiteness
stardom and celebrity
David Bowie
Critical race theory
Summary During the 1980s, in particular, Bowie embodied particular notions of white masculinity that were on the one hand supportive of its idealized hegemony, and on the other subverted its normative power. I will take 1983 as the year when his whiteness is particularly visible and unstable. Bowie, as either the blonde dandy from Let’s Dance; the enigmatic character, Maj. Jack 'Strafer' Celliers from Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (1983); or the simmering vampire, John Blaylock from The Hunger (1983), crystlised the pure qualities of white masculinity while demonstrating its violent, queer and subversive nature. The chapter will suggest that Bowie has constantly operated along a white continuum, self-consciously embodying it, granting it carnal and ideological power, while drawing attention to its death-like instinct, its anti-reproductive progeny, its implicit queerness.I have chosen to read Bowie’s whiteness through this shortened window of temporality to enable me to draw into the analysis the historical and cultural issues of the period in question. 1983 registers as the year in which whiteness is acutely imagined to be under threat from the Asian tiger and transforming geo-political realities, its own languid anti-corporeality, the AIDS ‘epidemic’, and from the rise of racism in Europe and elsewhere - realities which require it to re-position its power relations with the sexual, and ethnic Other. The whiteness in/of David Bowie speaks particularly eloquently to this historical moment.
ISBN 9781628923056
Language eng
Field of Research 200204 Cultural Theory
200212 Screen and Media Culture
Socio Economic Objective 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language
HERDC Research category B1 Book chapter
Copyright notice ©2015, Bloomsbury
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30076990

Document type: Book Chapter
Collection: School of Communication and Creative Arts
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