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Jenny McAlone

Research student

Bowland North

Lancaster University


Lancaster LA1 4YN

United Kingdom


Thesis Title

The Seahorse Complex: Reformulating the Concept of Androgyny through the Musical Exploration of Androgynous Subjectivities and the Androgynous Consciousness

Thesis Outline


My research is an attempt to reformulate the concept of androgyny through engaging the performances of Kate Bush, The Cure, Nine Inch Nails, Björk and Antony Hegarty. To mobilise these examinations I will first draw upon the threads left by Virginia Woolf in A Room of One's Own, establishing the characteristics of a Woolfian androgyny and using this foundation to explore an appropriate methodology for musicological study. The case studies have been selected to allow the exploration of specific elements of androgyny and the translation to musical expression and performance. The aim of the thesis is three fold: to reformulate the concept of androgyny, to expose the potential of Woolf's formulation and to explore the possibilities of gendered musical expression and musicological study. These three aims are situated in more overarching questions surrounding subjectivity, consciousness, sexuality, gender fluidity, expression and the social importance of binary systems, for example the sex/gender, male/female, and masculine/femininity. 

Research overview


Broadly, I am interested in music and gender, how the expression of gender is accounted for musically, and how this relates to the formation of subjectivity. The problem of meaning is a preoccupation throughout my research; how meaning is formed, reformed, manipulated and expressed through gender and musical performance. As a starting point the following concerns are thematic in my research: how is/are gender/s and sexuality/ies appropriated, discussed, displayed as an articulation of wider social narratives and revolutions, what is the most appropriate methodology for musical analysis, and what is the potential import for wider concerns surrounding questions of feminism?



BA Hons Music, International Centre for Music Studies, Newcastle University

MLitt Music, International Centre for Music Studies, Newcastle University, beneficiary of The Dame Florence Hilda Yates Studentship

Supervised By

Debra Ferreday and Nicholas Gebhardt