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Foucault and Film: Critical Theories and Representations of Mental Illness

2014, Doctor of Philosophy, Miami University, Educational Leadership.
This study investigates the representation of mental illness in Hollywood film. Using an approach grounded in Foucauldian theory and media literacy, this study will examine six Hollywood films covering a span of six decades, roughly from the end of World War II through the first decade of the twenty-first century. When writers, directors and producers of films portray characters with psychological disorders/disabilities, these representations may result in negative attitudes and skewed impressions among viewers/consumers. Further, inaccurate and demonizing portrayals in filmic texts serve only to create blueprints of stigmatization that could affect real-world persons with psychological disorders. With the agenda of exploring the hegemonic infrastructures of stigma and othering, this study will employ a theoretical framework of Foucauldian theory, along with critical media literacy perspectives to unpack the discursive power carried by popular visual media, as well as to analyze dominant cultural attitudes toward the normal/abnormal binary. In an attempt to emphasize the need for increased awareness of and sensitivity toward the lived experiences of persons with psychological disorders, this study will also highlight the value of curricularizing films featuring mental health/illness issues, and of recommending ways of striving for social justice for persons with these invisible disabilities.
Dennis Carlson, PhD (Committee Chair)
Richard Quantz, PhD (Committee Member)
Thomas Poetter, PhD (Committee Member)
Frank Fitch, PhD (Committee Member)
Sheri Leafgren, PhD (Other)
159 p.

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O'Hara, M. (2014). Foucault and Film: Critical Theories and Representations of Mental Illness. (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation). Retrieved from https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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O'Hara, Mark. "Foucault and Film: Critical Theories and Representations of Mental Illness." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Miami University, 2014. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. 22 Oct 2017.

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O'Hara, Mark "Foucault and Film: Critical Theories and Representations of Mental Illness." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Miami University, 2014. https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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