Added: January 7, 2017 – Last updated: January 7, 2017


Author: Myasia Saitta Burns

Title: Punishments, Prisoners, & Prags

Subtitle: A Narrative Analysis of Male Prisoner Rape on HBO's "Oz"

Thesis: M.A. Thesis, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Advisor: Rachel Plotnick

Year: 2016

Pages: 59pp.

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 21st Century | American History: U.S. History | Representations: Films / Oz; Types: Prison Rape; Victims: Men, Prisoners


Link: ProQuest (Restricted Access)



»This analysis examines the symbolic rape narratives of Oz and the cultural contexts in which they exist. It confronts visual images of male rape within the show to uncover considerations of masculinity, sexuality, and gender identification in a prison setting. For this study, I used a narrative analysis of the three functions identified in the text: rape as contrast, rape as cliché, and rape as plot device.
Through the analysis conducted, Oz displayed some disarmingly untraditional gender role reversals through scenes of male rape, negotiating male homosociality where other shows typically only explore heterosociality, especially with regard to sexual assault. Previous studies on rape representations posit that regardless of the individual characteristics of the storyline, rape narratives typically reinforce a dominant patriarchal ideology by positioning victims as weaker characters than the heroes.
Oz cannot be classified as either wholly reinforcing patriarchal norms or defying them, as the show negotiates both options. With regard to media studies and social change, we cannot say for sure whether Oz engineered or spurred ideas of prison rape reform, which is a movement that consequently took place during the initial broadcast years of Oz. However, it was timely with its graphic depiction of the act, ultimately giving viewers a grisly visual representation of male prison rape. Overall, Oz presents a model for those wishing to understand how media representations gesture toward issues of societal concern.« (Source: Thesis)


  Abstract (p. iii)
  Acknowledgments (p. iv)
  Chapter 1: Introduction (p. 1)
  Chapter 2: Literature Review (p. 6)
    2.1. Male Rape in Prison (p. 6)
    2.2. Representations of Rape on Television (p. 9)
    2.3. Studies of Oz (p. 11)
    2.4. Television Studies (p. 15)
    2.5. Method (p. 17)
    2.6. Narative (p. 18)
  Chapter 3: Narrative Analysis (p. 20)
    3.1. Rape as Contrast (p. 23)
    3.2. Rape as Plot Device (p. 31)
    3.3. Rape as Cliché (p. 35)
  Chapter 4: Discussion/Implications (p. 42)
  References (p. 48)

Wikipedia: History of the Americas: History of the United States / History of the United States (1991–present) | Television: Drama (film and television) / Oz (TV series) | Rape in the United States: Prison rape in the United States | Types of rape: Prison rape