SHAMING TEENAGE DRAMA - An Analysis of the Norwegian Teen Drama Series SKAM

Studenteropgave: Speciale (inkl. HD afgangsprojekt)

  • Tine Marie Ausland
4. semester, Kultur, kommunikation og globalisering, kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
Teen drama series have long been criticised for reinforcing gender stereotypes, heteronormativity and cliché narratives. With numerous academic papers shaming particularly American teen drama series, which is also broadcasted to Scandinavian households; this paper sets out to explore the Norwegian teen drama series SKAM (2015-2017) and how their innovative use of multi-media platforms and production in itself compete with traditional (American) teen drama. Analysing SKAM was of particular interest, as the series has been sold to multiple countries despite initially being produced and intended to a Norwegian audience exclusively. The paper aims to provide an answer to how the producers of SKAM have utilized media production and strategy in conjunction, to effectively target their core audience, and challenge established, intercultural stereotypes.

The paper offers a nuanced analysis of the teen drama SKAM, a series that have been applauded by an international audience. Inspired by Hall’s (1980) Encoding/Decoding communication model, a content analysis of the teen drama series, point out what Hall refers to as dominant-hegemonic codes of the media industry in SKAM. Illuminating dominant-hegemonic codes incorporated in the series, whilst at the same time reviewing scenarios that have gained positive attention, made it possible to evaluate SKAM in its full format. Though multiple attempts were made, it was impossible to arrange interviews with anyone involved in the production of SKAM; therefore, data from previous interviews with writer of SKAM Julie Andem and managing editor Håkon Moslet have been incorporated several places in the analysis as secondary data.

The paper argues that the innovative media strategy, which makes SKAM accessible through different platforms (social media, streaming and traditional broadcasting) are an important factor when reaching a core audience from the social media generation. Moreover, by reinforcing particular dominant-hegemonic codes of the media industry, which are classical components in successful American teen drama series, such as gender stereotypes, heteronormativity and familiar relationship narratives; SKAM indirectly safeguards the same audience who views American teen dramas. After securing an audience through familiar components, SKAM provides elements that are unconventional to the teen drama genre. More specifically SKAM challenges stereotypes of religious bodies and homosexual men, whilst bringing up taboo issues that have been shame-related, such as sexual assaults, infidelity, eating disorders, mental disorders and homosexuality. These strategies combined are likely to have provided SKAM not only with a core audience, but also with wide, international recognition.

Keywords: perfection; performance; media; teenagers; drama; television; identity; stereotype; bodies; gender; heteronormativity; hegemony
Udgivelsesdato19 jul. 2017
Antal sider66
ID: 260879832