Identity construction and community building in Austin's drag king culture
MetadataShow full item record
Drag king performance is a recent phenomenon in the United States. While the practice of drag itself is not new, modern drag kinging has received little attention in academic literature. This thesis employs a multi-disciplinary approach to envisage modern drag king performance as a site of identity construction and community building. Utilizing qualitative feminist methods, the study is grounded in a sociological framework, drawing also from gender studies, queer studies, cultural studies, and performance studies. Based on participant observation, in-depth interviews, and audience surveys, the study's findings extend the existing research on drag king culture in three significant ways. First, it considers various drag king identities, acknowledging categories that have been neglected in previous literature, specifically trans identity and "femme queens." Second, it explores drag king performance as a possible site of community. Findings suggest that community is established through creating space, perceived inclusivity, and dialogue through socio-political productions. Finally, the study considers a southern locality (Austin, Texas), a geography missing in drag king literature, and thus, captures a specific geographical moment in drag history by archiving the current queer performance community in Austin, Texas. The next phase of this study will shift the focus to explore the role of the audience in this performance community and expand the scope of this project by considering Austin's local drag king community in relation to and in the context of the international drag king community.