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Title: Criminally hip : a critical exploration into issues of masculinity, violence and transnational modernity within the spaghetti western and gangster film genres
Author: Banerjea, Koushik
ISNI:       0000 0004 2679 6342
Awarding Body: London South Bank University
Current Institution: London South Bank University
Date of Award: 2009
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My research explores the contingency of key discourses of masculinity, race and violence as they are filtered through particular film genres in which it is the very masculinist dimension of their cultural narratives which is emphasized. To that end the two genres which I focus upon are the 'spaghetti' western and the 'gangster' film. I explore the formative role of cultural production in the circulation and critique of masculinist, or in the case of the screen 'outlaw' or 'gangster', hypermasculinist discourses, particularly as they intersect with issues of racial or ethnic difference. This in tum raises important questions about the transnational component of the urban political economy which is the favoured stomping ground of both the screen, and reallife, gangster. Subsequently the research tests the notion of a global register against which the iconographic figure of the male outlaw is constructed and the implications of this for broader cultural mythologies of race, nation and frontier, for instance as a prototypical narrative of American, English or Indian modernity. My argument is that film, as a culturally promiscuous yet tactical resource, is both the instance and the critique of 'the public enemy' or of the violence of our own self-constitution. It (film) produces and sustains the media gangster as a solipsistic medium through which burgeoning, and increasingly violent, neuroses about the role of masculinity are filtered. By engaging the psychotic underbelly of both visual culture and the foundational myths it indexes, my research synthesises otherwise discrete anxieties around race, desire and violence. It makes the case for how the outsider art of gangster films or spaghetti westerns recalibrates the level of violence we are prepared to live with. It ultimately reveals how it is outlaws in the guise of a domestic citizenry who convert life into myth and image by projecting society's fears back to it as style. Weare the frontier and psychosis is our signature.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available