• The Midnight express phenomenon : a historical materialist approach to the reception of the film Midnight express /

      Mutlu, Dilek Kaya.; Popular Culture Program (Brock University, 2003-05-21)
      This thesis examines the Midnight Express phenomenon focusing on the film's reception by audiences in Europe, North America, and Turkey between 1978-2003. Using and enhancing the "historical materialist approach" to film reception developed by Janet Staiger, the thesis considers the historical determinants of the film's nationally and culturally differential readings in different periods and of the transformations in those readings. The thesis argues that while Midnight Express was most likely read in the late 1970s as an attempt to reaffirm American social identity by projecting Turks as an instance of the negative Other, there has been an important shift in the reception of the film in the West during the 1990s due to the changes in the discursive contexts in which the film has been circulating. One does not observe any specific reference to Turkish prisons as a part of the issue of human rights violations in Turkey in the initial reception of the film by European and American critics, whereas these issues appear to be important constituents of a particular reception of the film in the West in the present. The thesis explains this shift by pointing to the constitution of a particular discourse on human rights violations in Turkey after 1980, and especially throughout the 1990s, which has become a part of the discursive repertoires of the Western audience. Therefore, the thesis argues that today, Midnight Express functions as a more legitimate political statement about Turkey in the eyes of some Western audiences than it had been in the 1970s. On the other hand, parallel to the increasing desire of Turkey to connect itself to the West, particularly to become a member of the European Union, one observes an immense increase in the belief in and defense against the negative effects of Midnight Express on Turkey's international representation since the 1990s. The historical and current discourses that audiences, both in Turkey and abroad, bring into play suggest that these audiences engage with Midnight Express by assuming or denying not only the subject positions constructed by the film text but also certain history-specific extra-filmic subject positions produced by other social and discursive formations.
    • Morality, metanarratives, and mea culpa : postmodern problems in Law and order

      Braithwaite, Andrea.; Popular Culture Program (Brock University, 2003-07-09)
    • Buddy films and gender identity : representing the bonds of masculinity /

      Mason, Jodi.; Popular Culture Program (Brock University, 2004-07-14)
      The study examines the buddy film genre and the representation of masculinity in relation to the homosocial and the homoerotic. As a genre, the buddy films focus on male relationships, thematically seeking to mediate the boundaries surrounding the homosocial continuum and the intimacy and eroticism implicit in male bonding. Theories of genre, gender and identity are used to analyze the construction of masculine identity within the films. By providing a qualitative analysis of films from the 1960s to contemporary times, the research establishes a relationship between social changes, attitudes toward men and depictions of men. The buddy films adapt to address changes in the representation of masculinity, embodied in the difference between the male couple in the films. The early films of the 1960s served as templates that deconstructed traditional representations of male identity through articulating the tension within homosocial relationships. However, in the later films this tension became a refle~ive convention, acting to undermine the eroticism onto a displaced Other. The buddy film genre highlights the tension inherent to the male masquerade. This tension is situated in the need to represent the protagonist's homosocial relationship, while disavowing the eroticism that surrounds homosocial bonding. The structure of the buddy film genre, which focuses on the exploration of masculinity and representing the bonds of homosocial intimacy, makes these films a significant site for investigating the cultural construction of masculine identities.
    • The new woman, femininity and modernity in Margery Allingham's detective novels of the 1930s /

      Bott, Carol Barbara.; Popular Culture Program (Brock University, 2005-05-21)
      This thesis examines Death of a Ghost (1934), Flowers for the Judge (1935), Dancers in Mourning (1937), and The Fashion in Shrouds (1938), a group of detective novels by Margery Allingham that are differentiated from her other work by their generic hybridity. The thesis argues that the hybrid nature of this group of Campion novels enabled a highly skilled and insightful writer such as Allingham to negotiate the contradictory notions about the place of women that characterized the 1930s, and that in dOing so, she revealed the potential of one of the most popular and accessible genres, the detective novel of manners, to engage its readers in a serious cultural dialogue. The thesis also suggests that there is a connection between Allingham's exploration of modernity and femininity within these four novels and her personal circumstances. This argument is predicated upon the assumption that during the interwar period in England several social and cultural attitudes converged to challenge long-held beliefs about gender roles and class structure; that the real impact of this convergence was felt during the 1930s by the generation that had come of age in the previous decade-Margery Allingham's generation; and that that generation's ambivalence and confusion were reflected in the popular fiction of the decade. These attitudes were those of twentieth-century modernity--contradiction, discontinuity, fragmentation, contingency-and in the context of this study they are incorporated in a literary hybrid. Allingham uses this combination of the classical detective story and the novel of manners to examine the notion of femininity by juxtaposing the narrative of a longstanding patriarchal and hierarchical culture, embodied in the image of the Angel in the House, with that of the relatively recent rights and freedoms represented by the New Woman of the late nineteenth-century. Pierre Bourdieu's theory of social difference forms the theoretical foundation of the thesis's argument that through these conflicting narratives, as well as through the lives of her female characters, Allingham questioned the Hsocial myth" of the time, a prevailing view that, since the First World War, attitudes toward the appropriate role and sphere of women had changed.
    • Marginal/minority popular music : the concept of the "third space" and the case for "hybridities" of cultures/identities /

      Chetty, Hema.; Popular Culture Program (Brock University, 2005-05-21)
      The topic of this thesis is marginaVminority popular music and the question of identity; the term "marginaVminority" specifically refers to members of racial and cultural minorities who are socially and politically marginalized. The thesis argument is that popular music produced by members of cultural and racial minorities establishes cultural identity and resists racist discourse. Three marginaVminority popular music artists and their songs have been chosen for analysis in support of the argument: Gil Scott-Heron's "Gun," Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car" and Robbie Robertson's "Sacrifice." The thesis will draw from two fields of study; popular music and postcolonialism. Within the area of popular music, Theodor Adorno's "Standardization" theory is the focus. Within the area of postcolonialism, this thesis concentrates on two specific topics; 1) Stuart Hall's and Homi Bhabha's overlapping perspectives that identity is a process of cultural signification, and 2) Homi Bhabha's concept of the "Third Space." For Bhabha (1995a), the Third Space defines cultures in the moment of their use, at the moment of their exchange. The idea of identities arising out of cultural struggle suggests that identity is a process as opposed to a fixed center, an enclosed totality. Cultures arise from historical memory and memory has no center. Historical memory is de-centered and thus cultures are also de-centered, they are not enclosed totalities. This is what Bhabha means by "hybridity" of culture - that cultures are not unitary totalities, they are ways of knowing and speaking about a reality that is in constant flux. In this regard, the language of "Otherness" depends on suppressing or marginalizing the productive capacity of culture in the act of enunciation. The Third Space represents a strategy of enunciation that disrupts, interrupts and dislocates the dominant discursive construction of US and THEM, (a construction explained by Hall's concept of binary oppositions, detailed in Chapter 2). Bhabha uses the term "enunciation" as a linguistic metaphor for how cultural differences are articulated through discourse and thus how differences are discursively produced. Like Hall, Bhabha views culture as a process of understanding and of signification because Bhabha sees traditional cultures' struggle against colonizing cultures as transforming them. Adorno's theory of Standardization will be understood as a theoretical position of Western authority. The thesis will argue that Adorno's theory rests on the assumption that there is an "essence" to music, an essence that Adorno rationalizes as structure/form. The thesis will demonstrate that constructing music as possessing an essence is connected to ideology and power and in this regard, Adorno's Standardization theory is a discourse of White Western power. It will be argued that "essentialism" is at the root of Western "rationalization" of music, and that the definition of what constitutes music is an extension of Western racist "discourses" of the Other. The methodological framework of the thesis entails a) applying semiotics to each of the three songs examined and b) also applying Bhabha's model of the Third Space to each of the songs. In this thesis, semiotics specifically refers to Stuart Hall's retheorized semiotics, which recognizes the dual function of semiotics in the analysis of marginal racial/cultural identities, i.e., simultaneously represent embedded racial/cultural stereotypes, and the marginal raciaVcultural first person voice that disavows and thus reinscribes stereotyped identities. (Here, and throughout this thesis, "first person voice" is used not to denote the voice of the songwriter, but rather the collective voice of a marginal racial/cultural group). This dual function fits with Hall's and Bhabha's idea that cultural identity emerges out of cultural antagonism, cultural struggle. Bhabha's Third Space is also applied to each of the songs to show that cultural "struggle" between colonizers and colonized produces cultural hybridities, musically expressed as fusions of styles/sounds. The purpose of combining semiotics and postcolonialism in the three songs to be analyzed is to show that marginal popular music, produced by members of cultural and racial minorities, establishes cultural identity and resists racist discourse by overwriting identities of racial/cultural stereotypes with identities shaped by the first person voice enunciated in the Third Space, to produce identities of cultural hybridities. Semiotic codes of embedded "Black" and "Indian" stereotypes in each song's musical and lyrical text will be read and shown to be overwritten by the semiotic codes of the first person voice, which are decoded with the aid of postcolonial concepts such as "ambivalence," "hybridity" and "enunciation."
    • American Desi : representation and reproduction in diaspora /

      Joshi, Naveen K.; Popular Culture Program (Brock University, 2005-05-21)
      This study explores ~ow South Asian diasporic film represents and reproduces South Asian identity in the diaspora. It commences with a review of the literature in cultural studies and post-colonial theory on identity in the diaspora. A textual analysis of three films: American Desi, Bollywood/Hollywood, and East Is East, helps frame the characteristics of South Asian diasporic film. Theoretical concepts of diaspora and identity are extended to this reading of the films. In-depth, open-ended, semi structured interviews were conducted with eight participants to test the validity of theoretical concepts through participants' own reading of American Desi. Findings indicate that while theoretical concepts of identity can be usefully applied at the level of the text, these perspectives do not always easily explain participants' interpretation of the film in relation to their everyday experiences.
    • The encounter with the real and post-Soviet trauma : fantasy construction in Russian popular cinema /

      Klimova, Olga.; Popular Culture Program (Brock University, 2005-07-14)
      This thesis examines the impact of the Soviet Union's collapse on the Russian Symbolic as represented through popular cinema of the post-Soviet period. The disintegration of the USSR in 1991 became one of the most traumatic experiences for many Russian people. The trauma of the collapse of the Soviet Union penetrated the everyday reality of the Russian Symbolic, leaving the traces-symptoms in different cultural fonns like literature, arts, television and cinema. Because popular culture usually reacts very quickly to any social, political and economical shifts in society, it is an excellent barometer for deeper changes in society. Focusing on postSoviet popular cinema, this thesis analyzes the symptoms of cultural and individual trauma occasioned by the momentous changes of the 1990's. This study is grounded in post-analytic theory of Jacques Lacan and its interpretation by Slavoj Zizek, which emphases the traumatic encounter with the Real as a "hard core" of our reality. According to this paradigm, a new chain of signifiers is structured around the traumatic breach in the Symbolic, initiating a process of fantasy construction to deal with consequences of trauma and, thus, to support our Symbolic order. This thesis examines three major fantasy constructions - drinking, traveling to a "happy land" and family reunion and money - in popular films by Alexander Rogozhkin, Yurij Mamin, Georgij Shengelia, Dmitrij Astrakhan, Valerij Todorovskij, Alexej Balabanov, Sergej Bodrov Jr. and Petr Buslov. According to Zizek, enjoyment underlies any fantasy constructions, and that is why after the intrusion of the Real every individual and culture should go through the process of fantasizing about some substitutes which can help to minimize the traumatic effect and which can lead to a partial enjoyment. By analyzing the fantasies about drinking, "happy land", reconstruction of the family bonds and money in Russian popular cinema since 1991, this thesis demonstrates how the traumatic engagement with the Real affected the everyday lives of Russian people, and how individuals tried to fill the gap, the lack, in the post-Soviet Symbolic and "return" the lost feeling of unity and plenitude.
    • The last resort : spa therapy and the docile body in Victorian St. Catharines /

      Prunskus, Lynne.; Popular Culture Program (Brock University, 2006-05-19)
      By relying on existing cultural models, the Victorian spa promoted health and wellness. Advertising, together with other forms of promotion, strengthened the legitimacy of its claims to cure a variety of health problems. By the use of some links to science and a mystical folk belief about the efficacy of the local mineral waters, three spas emerged in St.Catharines: the Stephenson House, the WeIland House, and the Springbank. As the twentieth century approached, the spa movement declined and institutionalized medicine struggled to establish a monopoly on health care. This thesis argues that the health spas in St. Catharines occupied that transitional space in nineteenth century medicine between home remedy and hospital. The interplay between scientific discovery and business enterprise produced a climate in which the Victorian health resort flourished. This phenomenon, combined with the various maladies brought on by industrialization, nineteenth-century lifestyle, and the absence of medical options, created a surge in the popularity of health spas and mineral spring therapies. By the tum of the twentieth century, interest in mineral water treatments had declined. The health resorts that had blossomed between 1850 and 1899 began to experience a serious decrease in business. This popular movement became outmoded in the face of emerging medical and scientific knowledge. In St. Catharines, the last resort to remain standing, the WeIland House, finished out the city's spa era as a hospital.
    • Slackers, slashers and sticklers : Hollywood films and audience reception /

      Bradley, Sarah.; Popular Culture Program (Brock University, 2006-05-19)
      This thesis examines the processes through which identity is acquired and the processes that Hollywood :films employ to facilitate audience identification in order to determine the extent to which individuality is possible within postmodem society. Opposing views of identity formation are considered: on the one hand, that of the Frankfurt School which envisions the mass audience controlled by the culture industry and on the other, that of John Fiske which places control in the hands of the individual. The thesis takes a mediating approach, conceding that while the mass media do provide and influence identity formation, individuals can and do decode a variety of meanings from the material made available to them in accordance with the text's use-value in relation to the individual's circumstances. The analysis conducted in this thesis operates on the assumption that audiences acquire identity components in exchange for paying to see a particular film. Reality Bites (Ben Stiller 1994) and Scream (Wes Craven 1996) are analyzed as examples of mainstream 1990s films whose material circumstances encourage audience identification and whose popularity suggest that audiences did indeed identify with them. The Royal Tenenbaums (Wes Anderson 2001) is considered for its art film sensibilities and is examined in order to determine to what extent this film can be considered a counter example. The analysis consists of a combination of textual analysis and reception study in an attempt to avoid the problems associated with each approach when employed alone. My interpretation of the filmmakers' and marketers' messages will be compared with online reviews posted by film viewers to determine how audiences received and made use of the material available to them. Viewer-posted reviews, both unsolicited and unrestricted, as found online, will be consulted and will represent a segment of the popular audience for the three films to be analyzed.
    • A tale of two childhoods : the virtual child and the real child in Romania, 1970s and 1980s

      Visan, Laura.; Popular Culture Program (Brock University, 2006-11-04)
      This thesis deals with the everyday use of propaganda in Romania, between 1971 and 1989. It explores the way in which the propaganda discourse of the Romanian Communist Party was disseminated through popular culture artifacts targeting children: Pioneers' magazines, textbooks, Almanacs and moralizing stories. These artifacts configured the image of a model child, whose preoccupations complied with the requirements of the Romanian Communist Party and communicated a set of recommended practices, to be followed by Romanian children. At the same time, the thesis incorporates the response of the actual children to these desirable practices, and implicitly, their response to state propaganda.
    • Where's Albania? : staking out the politics of the real and reality in documentary cinema

      Metcalf, Graeme.; Popular Culture Program (Brock University, 2006-11-04)
      This thesis, entitled, "Where's Albania? Staking Out the Politics of the Real and Reality in Documentary Cinema," charts the documentary tradition's path from its first incarnations, as filmed travelogue or ethnographic study, for example, right through to its development as a form acting as an objective observer, reflexive commentator, and finally, as a postmodern hybrid. This thesis begins by locating the documentary tradition's origins in realism. Foregrounding documentary cinema as a realist style is important in that it is a contention that spans this entire study. After working through the numerous modes of documentary as outlined by Bill Nichols, I suggest the documentary is often best understood as a hybrid form drawing on numerous modes and conventions. This argument permits my study to make a shift into postmodern theory, wherein I examine postmodernism's relationship to the documentary both as being influenced by it, but also as subsequently forcing documentary cinema to look back at itself and reevaluate the claims it has made in the past, and how postmodernism has drawn these claims to the surface of debate. My thesis concludes with a study of the mockumentary. This analysis confirms the link between postmodernism and documentary, but perhaps more importantly, this analysis investigates postmodemism's critique of the image and representation in general, two elements historically linked to documentary cinema's success as "truth teller."
    • Popular romance novels : seeking out the 'sisterhood' /

      Fera-VanGent, Tania.; Popular Culture Program (Brock University, 2007-05-21)
    • Melting the matrices : structure, anti-structure, and the emerging conversation /

      Masters, Matthew.; Popular Culture Program (Brock University, 2007-05-21)
      This thesis investigates two cases of Christian churches, which as a part of their mission seek to accommodate people who would otherwise not be interested in church. One of these communities consider themselves a part of the global 'emerging church' movement, and the other does not. I argue that both communities are employing what I call 'de-compartmentalization' strategy in order to adopt a pragmatic relationship with social and political issues. Furthermore I discuss the case of the emerging church community as an example of 'paraliminal community '; a concept I develop from the work of Victor Turner and Arnold van Gennep.
    • Monstrum : the vampire in the detective story /

      Stikkelbroeck, Caroline.; Popular Culture Program (Brock University, 2007-05-21)
      My approach to the vampire detective highlights its connections to the private detective's story and reveals the monstrous investigators' debt to early feminist forms of detection -specifically in their reformation of the' other' and of traditional forms of power and authority. Seen in this light the movement of horror's imaginary 'other' into the rational world of detection can be seen as not an abrupt breach of detection's realist conventions, but an almost seamless transition into symbolic spaces that point to the detective's primary function -- to make sense of the senseless. It is in this light that I explore the monster that is a detective as a symbol that is also a sense-maker, and a quintessential postmodern figure. I argue that the distinctions between monsters and 'others', and between popular narratives and postmodern religion have faded, culminating in a character that can not only model 'otherness' as an exemplary condition, but also provide strategies for modeling the form of active postmodern subjectivity that postmodern theorist Jim Collins' (1989) conceives of as heretical activity.
    • Heroes on the home front : heroism and virtue in post-9/11 American cinema /

      Poliquin, Joy.; Popular Culture Program (Brock University, 2007-05-21)
      This thesis is intended to contribute to critical discussion of the American male hero in mainstream American war and action films post September 11, 2001 . The thesis investigates how these heroes' behaviour echoes a patriotic, conservative construction of the modern American as created through speeches given by George W. Bush in the wake of the events of September 11, 2001 . The thesis examines the hero in six primary sources: the war films We Were Soldiers, Behind Enemy Lines and The Great Raid and the action films Collateral Damage, Man on Fire and The Punisher. By analyzing the ideological subtext, political content, visual strategies and generic implications of the films, as well as the binary constructions of a selection of Bush speeches, and by reviewing historical representations of American male heroes on film produced in the wake of political events, the thesis concludes that the six films mobilize the USA's conservative viewpoint towards war and military action, and in concert with the speeches, contribute to an ongoing militarization of visual culture. Both systems echo a dangerous ideological fantasy of American history, life and patriotism.
    • Buying Britney : pop culture icons to cultural brands

      Saray, Markian.; Popular Culture Program (Brock University, 2007-11-04)
      This thesis demonstrates that mUSIC stars who attain cultural icon status heavily contribute to the fashion styles of the time. Where as style and music have always had a connection, icons such as Britney Spears are now dictating popular style so much so that music artists are becoming full-fledged fashion designers. While much analysis is devoted to Britney Spears, her largest contributions do not lie in the rise of teenage sexuality, but in establishing music artists as vehicles of consumption. The artists' signature has now become a brand and ~ term "signabrand" has been created to define such a trend. To understand such a shift, a review of past literature devoted to fashion and music, largely consisting of subculture theory is examined, followed by a combination of content analysis, political economy, fashion and postmodem theory to address how music stars attain icon status and guide style.
    • Metal music as critical dystopia : humans, technology and the future in 1990s science fiction metal

      Popular Culture Program (Brock University, 2007-11-04)
      Metal Music as Critical Dystopia: Humans, Technology and the Future in 1990s Science Fiction Metal seeks to demonstrate that the dystopian elements in metal music are not merely or necessarily a sonic celebration of disaster. Rather, metal music's fascination with dystopian imagery is often critical in intent, borrowing themes and imagery from other literary and cinematic traditions in an effort to express a form of social commentary. The artists and musical works examined in this thesis maintain strong ties with the science fiction genre, in particular, and tum to science fiction conventions in order to examine the long-term implications of humanity's complex relationship with advanced technology. Situating metal's engagements with science fiction in relation to a broader practice of blending science fiction and popular music and to the technophobic tradition in writing and film, this thesis analyzes the works of two science fiction metal bands, VOlvod and Fear Factory, and provides close readings of four futuristic albums from the mid to late 1990s that address humanity's relationship with advanced technology in musical and visual imagery as well as lyrics. These recorded texts, described here as cyber metal for their preoccupation with technology in subject matter and in sound, represent prime examples of the critical dystopia in metal music. While these albums identify contemporary problems as the root bf devastation yet to come, their musical narratives leave room for the possibility of hope , allowing for the chance that dystopia is not our inevitable future.
    • 'What ever happened to breakdancing?' : transnational b-boy/b-girl networks, underground video magazines and imagined affinities

      Fogarty, Mary; Popular Culture Program (Brock University, 2007-11-04)
      In 1997, Paul Gilroy was able to write: "I have been asking myself, whatever happened to breakdancing" (21), a form of vernacular dance associated with urban youth that emerged in the 1970s. However, in the last decade, breakdancing has experienced a massive renaissance in movies (You Got Served), commercials ("Gotta Have My Pops!") and documentaries (the acclaimed Freshest Kids). In this thesis, 1 explore the historical development of global b-boy/bgirl culture through a qualitative study involving dancers and their modes of communication. Widespread circulation of breakdancing images peaked in the mid-1980s, and subsequently b-boy/b-girl culture largely disappeared from the mediated landscape. The dance did not reemerge into the mainstream of North American popular culture until the late 1990s. 1 argue that the development of major transnational networks between b-boys and b-girls during the 1990s was a key factor in the return of 'b-boying/b-girling' (known formerly as breakdancing). Street dancers toured, traveled and competed internationally throughout this decade. They also began to create 'underground' video documentaries and travel video 'magazines.' These video artefacts circulated extensively around the globe through alternative distribution channels (including the backpacks of traveling dancers). 1 argue that underground video artefacts helped to produce 'imagined affinities' between dancers in various nations. Imagined affinities are identifications expressed by a cultural producer who shares an embodied activity with other practitioners through either mediated texts or travels through new places. These 'imagined affinities' helped to sustain b-boy/b-girl culture by generating visual/audio representations of popularity for the dance movement across geographical regions.
    • Comics carnet : the graphic novelist as global nomad

      Bader, Edward.; Popular Culture Program (Brock University, 2007-11-16)
      An interdisciplinary approach is used to identify a new graphic novel genre, 'comics camet', and its key features. The study situates comics camet in a historical context and shows it to be the result of a cross-pollination between the American and French comics traditions. Comics camet incorporates features from other literary genres: journalism, autobiography, ethnography and travel writing. Its creators, primarily European rriales, document their experiences visiting countries that Europe has traditionally defined as belonging to the 'East'. A visual and narrative analysis, using theoretical perspectives derived from cultural and postcolonial studies, examines how comics camet represents the non-European other and identifies the genre's ideological assumptions. Four representative texts are examined: Joe Sacco's Palestine (2001), Craig Thompson's, Camet de Voyage (2004), Guy Delisle's Pyongyang (2005) and Mrujane Satrpi's Persespolis 2 (2004). The study concludes that the comics camet genre simultaneously reinforces and challenges stereotypical assumptions about non-European people and places.
    • Produced subjectivities and productive subjects : locating the potential of the self-reflective blog

      Zurba, Zorianna.; Popular Culture Program (Brock University, 2008-02-16)
      Blogging software has popularly been used as a mode of writing about everyday life to interact with others. This thesis examines the political potentials that are opened up by self-reflective blogging. The self-reflective blog is a synergy of self-reflective practices and computer-mediated communication. A genealogy of the history of computer-mediated communication and various public self-reflective practices is conducted to uncover affect as the utility of various economies of subject production. Efforts made to blog-like the efforts made to interact online in other CMCs-are positioned as a kind of affective labor. Adapting Hardt and Negri's (2005) theorization of the multitude, whereby affective labor-the production of social relationshipsis a kind ofbiopolitical production, affect will be determined as a kind ofbiopolitical power that exists in everyday life.