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Title: The British trauma film : psychoanalysis and popular British cinema in the aftermath of the Second World War
Author: Plummer, Adam
ISNI:       0000 0004 7966 6365
Awarding Body: Queen Mary University of London
Current Institution: Queen Mary, University of London
Date of Award: 2019
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While the historical influence of psychoanalysis on Hollywood cinema has received considerable attention, the same cannot be said for its influence on British cinema. This thesis assesses the position that psychoanalysis occupies in British cinema in the years immediately following the Second World War. At the outset, I demonstrate how the critical theory of Louis Althusser and Michel Foucault can enable an understanding of the role that psychoanalysis plays in British culture at this time as an historical discourse, and in British cinema as a narrative, a cultural, and an ideological discourse. I then examine the historical psychoanalytic discourses themselves, which are defined as being comprised variously of Freudian, post-Freudian, and neo-Freudian concepts. I categorize these under the headings of trauma and anxiety, sexual difference and gender roles, and the theory of object relations. I employ a critical/psychoanalytic model to analyse five films: Dead of Night, The Seventh Veil, Madonna of the Seven Moons, They Made Me a Fugitive, and Mine Own Executioner. These have been chosen to provide a cross section of the different types of films of the period that were influenced by psychoanalytic concepts. In respect of each film, I examine how psychoanalysis operates in three discreet ways. First, as a narrative and formal structuring mechanism. Second, as a means by which the trauma of the war and the consequent breakdown in social formations can be confronted. Third, as a medium for reproducing the dominant beliefs and practices of the ruling ideology, and reinscribing the pre-war status quo of sexual difference. However, while psychoanalysis is thus revealed as mainly operating in these films as a normative ideological force, it is also found that it is countered by a subversive discursive force that seems to be immanent to the films themselves.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Queen Mary Principal's Studentship
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available