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Title: Film criticism in the digital age
Author: McWhirter, Andrew Christopher
ISNI:       0000 0004 5347 0196
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2014
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In a period of proposed crisis and disruptive transformation to media, journalism and criticism, this thesis provides a comprehensive analysis of English-language film criticism by offering an empirically-grounded study of observations and interviews with some of the world’s foremost film critics and editors from influential publications such as Cineaste, CinemaScope, IndieWIRE, The Guardian, Reverse Shot, Sight & Sound and Variety. These expert opinions are not only situated in the wider context of historical perspectives on criticism from ancient and modern origins, but also positioned against on-going debates into journalism and digital media which often denote a landscape characterised by both continuity and contestation. The findings are drawn from extensive fieldwork in the UK and North America taking place at two major international film festivals in Edinburgh and Toronto, supplemented with additional interviews with film critics from each of these regions. This thesis relies upon a great deal of published literature, from text books and media coverage to film criticism. These materials detail a crisis in criticism and in the culture at large, a prehistory of existing media, concepts around literary and arts criticism in general, and provide the means for a detailed model on Six Schools of Contemporary Film Criticism to be posited. A combination of desk research with participant observation and in-depth interviews has led to and strengthened the overall findings which conclude that film criticism in the contemporary digital age is defined by more continuity than disruptive transformation. While this prosaic – but not myopic – approach to film criticism highlights the habits and norms of film critics it also notes the significant changes taking place through the interactions of individuals and institutions with technologies. However, while transformations are acknowledged and new events specified – indeed the theme of change gives shape to the findings chapters in terms of a chronology of the new, newer and newest – in print, then online and subsequently towards convergent media forms – it is argued that the long view best serves to counteract hyperbolic discourses on film criticism as dead or inhabiting a new golden age. These empirical findings, in the face of transformative digital idealism, redress the balance and argue the case for evolution rather than the often mooted digital revolution.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PN1993 Motion Pictures