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Title: Selfhood as instance of horror : ontology, ideology, and narratives of body-terror
Author: Jones, Steven David
ISNI:       0000 0004 2676 2775
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis investigates the ways In which Horror metaphorically appeals to the viewers sense of identity by presenting a moment of crisis and deconstructing normative auto-boundaries. I employ various films and novels to illustrate the philosophical complexities of selfhood, especially centring upon the supposed "norm" subject. These moments of trauma are evinced in the contradictory pulls of ideology, and are symbolically rendered through the deconstruction of the body (the signifier of selfhood) onscreen. I employ a rereading of psychoanalysis and post-structuralism,a s well as grounding these more abstract theoretical thrusts in the socio-political reality of AIDS discourses. I begin by positioning my work in the critical field, especially in relation to the philosophy of consciousness and feminism. My second chapter utilises case studies that investigate Otherness within a locus of ideological "normality" - America. Here, I demonstrate the fragmentation of selfhood that occurs when self and Other interact, as well as the multiplicity and instability of identity. My third chapter opens with a re-evaluation of the slasher cycle. From this explicitly gender-based angle, I go on to explore the relationship between sex and death through the rape-revenge film, then pornography. Here, as in the slasher film, bodies interact, and can be read as problematising the interrelationships between selves. Pornography's desire to be read as "authentic" also implicates the viewer as one of the selves that are problematised during this interaction by transgressing the line between fiction and reality. My final chapter continues along this line of enquiry, probing narratives in which the character selves do not adhere to singular body-spaces, thus figuratively manifesting the crises of subjectivity, as the self Is paradoxically both abstract/intangible and embodied/physical.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available