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Title: Documentary representations of alterity on television : diversity and national identity in contemporary France
Author: Vincent-Gill, Sonia Claire
ISNI:       0000 0004 2739 4839
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2013
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Since the turn of the millennium, there is a growing literature concerned with investigating the representation of minorities on French television. This thesis sets out to explore the documentary representation of four types of alterity (non-Western, urban, rural and regional France) in a selection of documentaries broadcast on French television between 1995 and 2010. The originality of this thesis lies in its comparative approach to the question of alterity. This research seeks to contribute to the nascent field of diversity and minority studies, and explore the manner in which these documentaries contribute to the construction of contemporary French identity. The study examines documentaries in a range of styles, from ‘art-house’ films to ‘hybrid’ popular factual entertainment, broadcast on ‘mainstream’ and ‘cultural’ channels. Additionally, the thesis seeks to assess the extent to which the medium of documentary offers an alternative representation of alterity when compared to other forms of visual culture, in particular the news coverage and documentary treatment of recent events. The juxtaposition of ‘mainstream’ and ‘cultural’ channels, and of documentary and news coverage, is designed to provide an analytical framework in which to assess the questions of alterity and national identity, in a manner that is, simultaneously, representative of a range of channels and styles, and different forms of factual representation. From this research emerges a recurrent opposition between a suburban dystopia (epitomised by the banlieue) versus a rural idyll (whether ‘peasant’, regional or non-Western). This shows a correspondence between the documentary representation of alterity and France’s contemporary concerns with questions of national identity and citizenship, which has engendered a ‘turn to nostalgia’ and the idealisation of rural or ‘traditional’ lifestyles.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available