Negotiating the representations of Arabs in Hollywood films: perspectives and interpretations of young Kuwaitis

Al-Ajmi, Sara (2015). Negotiating the representations of Arabs in Hollywood films: perspectives and interpretations of young Kuwaitis. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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It is widely acknowledged that films have the capability to act as a tool to perpetuate stereotypes, promote a certain ideology, and influence audiences. Hollywood films have been accused of endorsing stereotypes and promoting prejudicial attitudes towards Arabs for more than a century. This study explores the nature of Arab representations in Hollywood films. More importantly, the study sets out to investigate how young Arabs from the State of Kuwait negotiate and interpret the way Hollywood represents Arabs in its productions.

In order to understand how Kuwaiti audiences interpret Arab representations it was crucial to investigate how films are integrated into Kuwaiti society. Three key groups were identified for the purpose of this study, ‘the importers and regulators’, ‘the production group’, and ‘the Kuwaiti audience’, which was narrowed down to include both male and female Kuwaiti university students between the ages of eighteen to twenty-four.

Research showed that Kuwaiti audiences were clearly fond of Hollywood films. According to the survey results, 95% of all participants chose Hollywood films as their favourite productions, even though 72% believed that the representations of Arabs in Hollywood films were generally inaccurate. Moreover, the vast majority of participants (82%) believed that the image of Arabs in Hollywood films was generally negative. The pool of available literature lacks an authentic Arab perspective on the issue of film representation. The findings of this study attempt to address this gap in the literature.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: Department of Political Science and International Studies
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion Pictures


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