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Title: The representation of communism in post-war British film, theatre, and art 1945-1963
Author: Clulow, Jacqueline
ISNI:       0000 0004 2729 0503
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2012
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In contrast to previous cold war studies which have focussed on propaganda and the cultural contest between the USA and USSR, this thesis demonstrates how British film, theatre, and art marginalised communism, and by association political radicalism, through the reinforcement of dominant negative stereotypes. This thesis examines how largely negative portrayals of communism reflected the views of their creators: individuals and groups who were not part of the official state apparatus, but were illustrating their own perception of the communist threat. It is therefore a cultural examination of the visual portrayal of a political ideology within British film, theatre and art. Through the use of recognisable stereotypes, communism was demonised through a variety of guises: from aggressive and sinister domestic militants through to the portrayal of communism as being ‘un-British’ and a challenge to traditional values and beliefs. Although such anti-communist representations were dominant, more sympathetic portrayals gradually emerged, such as the naive, the gullible or those simply disillusioned and seeking change. Through a determined eclectic analysis of a broad range of sources from film, theatre and art this thesis will show that domestic concerns dominate in all three media. An in-depth look at the CPGB, the Artists Group and Realism, will demonstrate that British communism had no positive cultural influence within the media considered, leaving any sympathetic portrayals down to individuals. The changing fortunes of the Communist Party of Great Britain will also demonstrate how geopolitical events led to a decline in its domestic support and the continual reinforcement of negative communist portrayals. What emerges is that in the post-war years British film, theatre, and art looked with suspicion at an alien ideology largely associated with a hostile foreign power, and without any real challenge, its continued negative representation helped to establish a dominant anti-communist ideology.
Supervisor: Hughes, M. J. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available