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Title: Ideology and dystopia : political discourse in contemporary fiction cinema
Author: Paz, Mariano
ISNI:       0000 0004 2697 8058
Awarding Body: The University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2010
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The present thesis consists of a discussion of contemporary Western science fiction cinema from a cultural studies perspective. In particular, this work is focused on the analysis of political ideology and its discourses as they are conveyed in the visual, aural, and narrative dimensions of a selected corpus of films from three different countries: Argentina, Britain and the United States. The selection of this range of cinema industries is informed by the intention of widening the spectrum of science fiction criticism, which is mostly focused on American cinema, and also on the cross comparative purpose of examining three central forms in which Western films are produced and distributed: the hegemonic American blockbuster, the independent peripheral cinema of Latin America, and the mid-level position exemplified by a European film industry such as Britain's. The analysis of the selected corpus is approached from an interdisciplinary perspective that draws on several theoretical frameworks from cultural studies and social philosophy, such as Lacanian psychoanalysis, postcolonial theory, post-structuralism, and critical theory. The underlying premise of this thesis is that, through the representation of imaginary, dystopian worlds and societies, science fiction films are in fact engaging with the critique of contemporary reality and articulating collective concerns and anxieties about the present. In consequence, films are examined here in a hermeneutic manner, with the objective of identifying and revealing the complex set of critiques of contemporary institutions, practices and discourses that are conveyed in the texts. The discussion is organised in three chapters, each covering three case studies that are representative of the selected cinema industries. Films studied in detail include the Star Wars prequels (1999-2005), La Sonämbula (1998), Adios Querida Luna (2005), La Antena (2007), Code 46 (2004), Children of Men (2006), and 28 Weeks Later (2007). Each chapter is organised according to certain theoretical parameters that allow for a critical reading of the texts, establishing connections between the films' subtexts and the social contexts in which they were produced. This work aims to demonstrate that the analysis of popular culture is essential for the understanding of how political concerns, anxieties and traumas can be expressed and articulated, whether in avowed or disavowed forms, not only in hegemonic texts but across the entire field of Western cultural production. Additionally, this thesis argues for the need to approach the study of cinema from the point of view of critical theory, as an appropriate way to uncover the ideological dimensions, represented in the films, that are critical of dominant discourses and institutions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available