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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

The ‘Problem’ of Brandon Teena: Ethics in the story Documentary

Larke-Walsh, George S. and Kelly, Jana (2010) The ‘Problem’ of Brandon Teena: Ethics in the story Documentary. Journal of Information Ethics, 19 (2). pp. 33-51. ISSN 1477-996X

Item Type: Article


This paper seeks to reveal the ethics of The Brandon Teena Story by assessing the balance of message and metaphor in the text. It provides an analysis on the ethics of representation in documentary, especially, as in this case, when the main subject of representation is absent. Analysis is focused primarily on the documentary with only passing references to the Hollywood film, because the intention is to interrogate the general assumption that the documentary is more ethical in its presentation of facts. By assessing the structural metaphors of the film and how they encourage audience readings and possible judgments on the events and participants, the analysis unveils how the documentary addresses Brandon Teena’s “story” in such a way that submerges the issues of transsexual identity beneath other social discourses, such as masculine identity. Our analysis reveals that the documentary provides very little commentary on Brandon Teena as a person, but instead focuses on him as a problem for others.

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Depositing User: George Larke-Walsh


Item ID: 13050
Identification Number:
ISSN: 1477-996X
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ORCID for George S. Larke-Walsh: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2021 10:13
Last Modified: 09 Aug 2023 08:15


Author: George S. Larke-Walsh ORCID iD
Author: Jana Kelly

University Divisions

Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries > School of Art and Design


Media > Film
Media > Media and Cultural Studies

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