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Title: Methodological and critical problems arising from the question of popular cinema's contribution to the ideology of the feminine in Britain between 1945-1965
Author: Thumim, Janet Belinda
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 1992
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On the assumption that 'femininity' is a cultural construct, this thesis examines the operation of one important contributor to the social field in which such construction takes place. The representations of women available in popular cinema, defined by success at the British box office during the post war period (1945-1965) when cinema was the dominant form of mass culture, are taken as exemplars of contemporary constructions of the feminine. The thesis is concerned, precisely, with the relation between the consumption of popular culture and the formation of individual identity for female subjects. In order to pursue the questions arising from this initial proposition that there is, indeed, such a relation, I consider first (chapter one) female identity, readerly and spectatorial activity, and recent theoretical approaches to the audience. Secondly (chapter two) I ask how 'the popular' might best be understood in mass industrial society. In pursuit of the elusive notion of the popular, a method for correlating contemporary assessments of the success of films at the post-war British box office is presented and a sample group of eighteen films generated through this correlation (of which the details are presented in appendix 2) is subjected to detailed textual analyses. An analytic method for comparing the representations of women in generically and chronologically heterogenous films is developed (appendix 3) and applied to the sample group of eighteen films. Finally the question of the use value of these popular but generally repressive texts to contemporary female audience members is raised and the apparent textual relation to contemporary social history noted. The thesis concludes with speculation about the degree to which active negotiation of popular cultural texts may generate radical rather than submissive response to ideological instruction embedded in the texts. -
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available