The wayward spectator

Comanducci, Carlo (2016). The wayward spectator. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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Through a heterogeneous set of contributions from film studies, psychoanalysis and critical theory, including Leo Bersani and Laura Marks, Jacques Rancière and Jean-Bertrand Pontalis, the dissertation confronts spectatorship, film theory, and their relation, on the issue of emancipation and of its discursive regulation. Against the pedagogical forms of film theory and the authoritarian framing of the spectator’s position that can be seen to be integral to the functioning of the cinematographic apparatus, this work suggests that we consider theory as an internal aspect of film experience, rather than as its external explanation. Arguing for the fundamental emancipation of the spectator together with the heteronomy of the subject and the discursivity of film experience, the dissertation addresses what, in film experience, resists being reduced within intellectual mastery, metapsychological structures, and the logic of interpretation, and rather remains radically incommensurable with the principles of its intelligibility. Indeterminacy and a lack in mastery are thus taken to be the constitutional ground of spectatorship as a praxis and of the spectator as a site of tensions and dissensus. More specifically, three basic dimensions and categories of this “wayward” ground of film experience will be examined in their correspondences and connections: contingency, free association, and embodiment.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies, Department of English Literature
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion Pictures


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