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CitationBrereton, P. (2002) 'Ecological utopianism and Hollywood cinema'. PhD thesis. University of Luton.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
The primary focus of this dissertation is to explore a range of light/ dark ecological metaphors, which can be read across popular Hollywood cinema from the 1950s to the end of the century. In particular this representational growth in ecological consciousness will be surveyed across a range of genres including Westerns, road movies and science fiction fantasies in particular. Alternative embodiments and agencies of an ecological consciousness, especially feminist and native American Indian, will be closely examined, alongside a white, middle-class, liberal, eco-sensibility, which has become more dominant within modern Hollywood, as evidenced by the Spielberg oeuvre. Each chapter will address a specific theoretical aspect of the study while drawing on detailed examples to illustrate the thesis in general. It is the overall contention of this study that such symbolic expression is both 'shrinking the world' while at the same time 'giving citizens, governments and corporations a heightened consciousness that there are real global ties and maybe a global identity for the occupants of spaceship earth' (Allen et al. 1995: 173). Alongside a more tangible and overt expression of 'light' ecology in film, the human species evolving symbiotic relation with the cosmos (and the resultant oneness with nature) will also be explored. This burgeoning thematic expression is often codified within the duality of a utopian/dystopian future particularly evidenced in the science fiction genre, which continuously adapts and modifies notions drawn from 'deep ecology'. The primary strategy used to uncover such ecological expression incorporates the close textual exploration of space/place alongside moments of excess/sublime within many 'feel good' utopian/dystopian Hollywood texts. This will be articulated through a variety of expressions of rural/urban space and landscape as codified within particular eco-registers by various human and post-human agents, which sometimes transcend the more normative ideological textual specificities of race/class/gender.
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