Eliza Steinbock
Andre Cavalcante’s Struggling for Ordinary: Media and Transgender Belonging (New York University Press, 2018)
– Journal of Cinema and Media Studies
Book Review 2019


For today’s generation of transgender-identified people, how exactly do they understand media to provide a spark of recognition, what do they see in available media texts, and how do they integrate them into their own self-conception and narrative? To use the design concept of “affordances” that attends to the properties that enable and shape interactions with objects, these questions relate to the problem of how to evaluate the different affordances of media to enable trans people to survive and thrive.

Andre Cavalcante’s book Struggling for Ordinary: Media and Transgender Belonging in Everyday Life approaches these questions of media’s role in the lives of trans individuals through ethnographic studies of participants in the Midwestern United States and the Bay Area in the deep recession years of 2008-2011. Through the prism of their everyday interactions with media text and communication technologies Cavalcante is able to show ‘how media made a sense of ordinary life more or less within reach’ for these participants even though they come from different racial communities, generations, regions, and economic backgrounds.

↳ https://muse.jhu.edu/article/730120