Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8385-6386 Dreckmann Kathrin


While contemporary pop culture is nowadays considered part of the cultural mainstream, its practices of codification and its use and circulation of signifiers are still shaped by its roots in counterculture. This leads to a second order esthetic that reflects upon mass culture and subverts it by means of transgression and rearrangement. This essay argues that this subversive logic of reference is closely linked to what Susan Sontag has described as “camp.” While doing so it not only sheds light on the aspect of subversion and identity building, but also on the aspect of performance and staging that plays an important role for camp, as well as pop culture and its play with artificiality and authenticity. As a consequence the concept of camp is used to examine the practice and performance of artists like David Bowie, Madonna, Christina Aguilera and Janelle Monáe, and finding structural similarity in their practice and production, which uncovers a tendency towards apersonal self-historization which is typical for pop and is closely linked to its ability to generate new meanings out of materials that stem from other contexts originally.


camp, authenticity, performance, queer, music video


Arts and Humanities | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Film and Media Studies | Performance Studies


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