American Sociological Association

Supermodel of the World: The Influence of Legitimacy on Genre and Creativity in Drag Music Videos

Who gets to define what counts as art when a genre is in flux? In the present analysis, I find that legitimated artists may also be able to act as intermediaries, such as critics and gatekeepers. In doing so, these artists-as-intermediaries, under certain conditions, can shift the meaning of the genre as it transitions. Using the current transition of drag performance from scene-based to industry-based genre as a case, I present a multistage qualitative analysis of televised and digital drag performance. I report three key findings from this analysis: (1) some legitimated artists can become intermediaries when their genre is in transition, (2) these legitimated artists-as-intermediaries can influence genre expectations, and (3) legitimated artists-as-intermediaries’ influence on genre expectations can, in turn, influence the creative expression of other artists. Each of the three findings, however, has the effect of limiting creativity of the artist-as-intermediary and future artists within the industry-based genre.


Michael Patrick Vaughn





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