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Title: Making progress with Wittgenstein and popular genre film
Author: Urschel, Martin
ISNI:       0000 0004 7960 026X
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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This study concerns ways of conceptualising what it means to use genre patterns in narrative film critically and creatively. The introduction begins by analysing the opening scene of a regular episode of a German television crime drama episode, Polizeiruf 110: Er sollte tot ... (Germany 2006), directed by Dominik Graf, whose work challenges rigid and narrow definitions of genres and theories in film and genre studies. Before returning to Graf in the last two chapters, the intermediary chapters outline the philosophical and conceptual scaffolding of the investigation: Chapter 2 sets the stage by outlining central concepts of Wittgenstein's later philosophy, which I employ in later chapter for a critical, challenging and pluralistic method of thinking about conventional film forms, genres, and techniques. With help by the Coen brothers and their film A Serious Man (USA 2010), chapter 3 acknowledges some ways in which Wittgenstein's method be abused. The film exemplifies ways in which Wittgensteinian approaches to thinking about culture can misfire, and as such contributes to a Wittgensteinian practice of self-reflection. Thus prepared, chapter 4 looks more closely at Dominik Graf's films, challenging existing uses of Wittgenstein's philosophy in genre studies, arguing that defining genre as a family resemblance concept does not sufficiently account for the dynamic and enabling force of genre conventions. Problems can be overcome by turning to Wittgenstein's concept of language-games, which helps to clarify the status of genre rules and brings into view differences between their practical uses in everyday life. The final chapter analyses Graf's Die Freunde der Freunde (Germany 2002) by sketching film language games: Various aspects of genre film can be clarified using the concept of grammar. The conclusion then ties the threads of the argument together, reflecting on the potential of Wittgenstein's method for a defense of popular film and as providing a model of criticism that does not subvert itself.
Supervisor: Morgan, Ben Sponsor: St Johns College ; Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available