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Title: Shadowboxing : Sylvester Stallone and British Film audiences
Author: Huffer, Ian James.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3583 6252
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2005
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Within this I study I use qualitative audience research to examine the aesthetic and ideological pleasures derived from the films of Sylvester Stallone. show how audiences' evaluations of Stallone's skills as a performer involve a complex negotiation of the star's status as an actor, character and star image, and how such negotiations are variously shaped by Stallone's use of his body and his voice within his films, the expectations audiences bring to their encounters with the star and the varying modes through which they consume Stallone. I also reveal the differing pleasures audiences find in the spectacular action sequences of Stallone's films, whilst underlining the degree to which this agency is constrained by the specific textual organization of the star's films and the specific commercial context in which these films were produced. Moving on to audiences' ideological engagements, I show how my female respondents' identities as heterosexual women are partly constructed through their engagement with a particular model of masculinity they find to be embodied by Stallone. In doing so, I reveal some of the limitations of existing attempts to explain the social/cultural construction of heterosexuality and gender. I also show how Stallone embodies a range of masculinities to my male respondents, but reveal how the texts of the star's films and the extra-textual material that surround them can be seen to combine with wider social/cultural forces to privilege certain ways of being a man as more important than others. In conclusion, my study reveals the ways in which audiences' aesthetic and ideological pleasures are variously contingent upon the codes embodied in film texts; those extra-textual representations of the star which circulate around the films; the commercial operations of Hollywood as an industry; the lived experiences of audiences; and the macro social/cultural contexts in which both audiences and Hollywood as an industry are located. As such, it grants us a more nuanced insight into the degree to which aesthetic pleasures may, or may not, be shaped by wider social/cultural forces and a more refined understanding of how hegemonic notions of masculinity may be both maintained and challenged through popular culture.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available