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Title: The American president in film and television
Author: Frame, Gregory
ISNI:       0000 0004 2748 8691
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis examines the representation of the American president in fictional films and television programmes, as well as documentary film and photography. It engages broadly with the subject’s entire history, but focuses particularly on the past two decades (1992-2012). Its primary method is close textual analysis, departing from pre-existing studies that are largely preoccupied with questions of verisimilitude and historical accuracy. The construction of the cinematic and televisual presidencies requires a simultaneous negotiation of the ‘real’ political/historical record, and the desire to reproduce and reinforce the representational genealogies inherited from cinema and television’s own histories (not necessarily all explicitly ‘political’). My research has found the presidency to be overwhelmingly reliant upon mythological discourses about American national identity, and traditional conceptions of masculinity. How these constructions impact upon the representation of the president in relation to the contexts from which the films and programmes emerge is of crucial importance. The conception of the presidency has undergone enormous change since the early 1990s. The end of the Cold War, the increased scrutiny of the mass media, 9/11 and the ‘war on terror’, and the economic crisis, have either challenged or reinforced the notion that the president is an omnipotent force, able to bend the world to his will. The strategies cinema and television have employed to address these changes is of crucial significance to this thesis. This thesis will establish the manner in which techniques of mainstream film and television production – genre, visual style, iconography, and narrative – have impacted upon the reinforcement or critique of the presidential myth. As the presidency has suffered relative decline in a more diffuse geopolitical environment, this thesis demonstrates the extent to which the myth of the presidency has required the intervention of mainstream cinema and television to ensure its preservation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PN1993 Motion Pictures