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Title: The kinaesthetics of serial television
Author: Shacklock, Zoe Ruth
ISNI:       0000 0004 7227 5951
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis argues for the centrality of kinaesthesia to the narrative structures and modes of address of contemporary serial television drama. Scholarly and popular accounts of ‘quality’ television privilege audiovisual aesthetics, valuing these programmes for the ways they seemingly depart from established televisual form. In objection to this dominant scholarly narrative, this thesis explores how these programmes can be theorised through their shared use of a kinaesthetic reading strategy, in which the movement and spatial dynamics of the body are fundamental for the construction of narrative meaning, emotional impact, and political engagement. The first chapter of this thesis considers what kinaesthesia has to offer our existing theories of televisual storytelling, aesthetics, and engagement, through a review of the critical literature. The following three chapters each focus on a different thematic element of the kinaesthetics of serial television drama. The second chapter discusses Game of Thrones (HBO, 2011–) and Lost (NBC, 2004-2010) as examples of the ‘vast narrative’: massive, sprawling stories often explicitly concerned with journeys and mobility, which appeal to kinaesthesia as a means of making their vast storyworlds coherent. The third chapter considers how television dramas both reiterate and resist the normative elements of kinaesthesia, focusing on the embodied politics of gender identity and desire in Outlander (Starz, 2014–) and Transparent (Amazon, 2014–). The final chapter questions how kinaesthesia functions as a mode of empathetic engagement with television, and the extent to which contemporary serial dramas such as Hannibal (NBC, 2013-2015) and Sense8 (Netflix, 2015-2017) present it as a transformative mode of relating to other people. The thesis is invested in presenting kinaesthesia as a productive method for the analysis of television, in which attention to the embodied dynamics of narrative and engagement has much to offer our understanding of screen media, the embodied politics of identity, and the evaluative frameworks of television scholarship. Television has always been a medium defined and experienced through metaphors of mobility, a property that persists in the ways in which serial dramas exploit the storytelling potential of the moving body. By offering kinaesthesia as framework for understanding how serial television speaks to its audience, this thesis proposes a method that is attuned to both the storytelling strategies of these highly contemporary texts, and to the broader theoretical and evaluative history of the medium itself.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PN1993 Motion Pictures