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- Australian cinema, autonomy and globalisation
- Siemienowicz, Rochelle
- Building on a critical theory that sees narrative performing an active and fundamental role in the way national communities understand and orient themselves, this dissertation focuses on Australian feature films of the 1990s. If national communities are to be distinguished, in Benedict Anderson's words, ‘by the style in which they are imagined’, then what can be made of the tendency of Australian narratives to articulate a model of the world where, in Graeme Turner's description, ‘…survival is all, resistance is futile and ideals are to be tempered by contingency’? What kinds of authentic freedom or resistance are available to Australians through their stories, particularly in the context of rapid cultural, political and economic integration? Using Honneth’s interpretation of the dialectic of recognition, Bhaktin’s concept of the multi-voiced Polyphonic Narrative, and Bourdieu’s notion of the cultural field, national narratives and national identities are shown to have the potential to be open rather than closed. The protection of this diversity is enabled, however, only through an autonomous field of the nation, and its associated cultural fields. The Australian cinematic field is discussed as being particularly reliant upon the idea of the distinct nation, and upon the institutional support that arises from this foundation. A close textual analysis of ten very diverse films, made and released in Australia in the 1990s, will explore the contemporary development of the ways of seeing ourselves as simultaneously free and imprisoned. The themes and preoccupations of the films are discussed as narrative responses to the threats and possibilities posed by globalisation. Building upon these ideas, it will be shown how globalisation affects the capacity of the national film industry to operate as an autonomous storytelling field. Using interviews with the directors of the films studied, in combination with a broadly outlined map of the financial and symbolic relations that make up the cinematic field, the dissertation demonstrates the manner in which this field relies, for its very existence, upon the threatened and unfashionable belief in the importance of ‘nation’ and ‘national identity’.
- Publication type
- Thesis (PhD)
- Publication year
- Narrative; Feature films; Globalisation; Identity; Motion picture industry; Motion pictures, Australian; History; Film; Cinema; Australia
- Australasian Digital Theses collection
- Copyright © 2002 Rochelle Siemienowicz.
- Thesis Supervisor
- [Dr. Arran Gare]
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