The place of animation within Film and Media Studies : a theoretical and pedagogic approach
This thesis examines two main things. Firstly, animation as a set of signifying practices, and its relationship to Film and Media Studies; secondly, the ways in which those working within Animation Studies might constitute an identifiable academic community. This synthesis of reflection on the epistemological dimension of animation, and analysis of what animation scholars actually do in their various contexts, is what gives the research its originality. The nature of knowledge, its classification along disciplinary lines, and the emergence of new and hybrid forms of knowledge - such as Film and Media Studies - are all outlined in the opening sections. The central argument is that knowledge must be viewed in its historical and institutional contexts, and that people's active engagement with these contexts is a productive force. The ontological status of the animated image is delineated via some case studies and textual analyses. The epistemological basis of animation is assessed by looking at it as a 'discursive field' rather than as a 'disciptfne'. The specifically pedagogic dimension of animation is approached via the rich set of debates associated with practice-theory relations in the sphere of cultural production (and education in particular). It is this discursive/dialogical dimension that underpins the key findings of the thesis: that we need to view academic behaviours in the context of theories of 'recognition' and identity-formation. In this respect, the ways that people talk about, name and recognise what they do has a very real impact on their social activity. Methodologically, the thesis uses a combination of textual analysis and theoretical reflection on the nature of animation and knowledge about it. A range of empirical data related to animation teaching - syllabuses, email questionnaires and e-group discussion posts - are analysed, highlighting the discursive aspects of interview exchanges. In particular, the impact of online exchanges, and the nature of online communities, is examined.