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Introduction

The cultural politics of popular film

Chris Beasley and Heather Brook

This chapter outlines the rationale, scope, and key terms employed throughout the book. Offering an overview of the book as a whole, we argue that cultural politics investigates popular cultural forms not simply as entertainment or art, but rather as ‘political technologies’. The key question we address is: how are Hollywood movies political?

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Michael Lawrence and Rachel Tavernor

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Introduction

Looking beyond the state

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Anna Greenwood

This chapter auto-critiques the editors early work (Crozier, Practising Colonial Medicine, 2007) for studying the Colonial Medical Service as a distinct entity, founded and run on shared principles, staffed by Europeans and micro-managed from Whitehall. The collection of chapters is introduced, particularly emphasising how each essay originally contributes to revising this flawed interpretation. The Colonial Medical Service is argued as being flexibly responsive to local demands, open to negotiation and cooperation with non-governmental partners, and very much different in reality to the unified image that is often assumed. Theoretically this dramatically pushes forward understandings of the history of government medicine in Africa, not least showing scholars that history is always on the move and can be rarely compartmentalised, despite the active public relations agenda of the British colonial government.

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Sukanta Chaudhuri

Pastoral is one of the few literary modes whose genesis can be clearly traced. While poems reworking pristine rustic experience might have existed earlier, the pastoral mode as now recognized originated with the Greek poet Theocritus in the third century BCE. More correctly put, Theocritus provided a model that others followed to create the mode.

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Felix M. Bivens

The Interdisciplinary Programme on Human Development was launched in 1995. The work of the Human Development programme is structured along four axes: health, nutrition and quality of life; technology, production and environment; cultural processes of learning and human rights; social strategies, public policies and power relations. Academically, the Human Development group works with a variety of students from undergraduate, postgraduate and professional programmes. Many students at all levels are drawn to Chiapas because of the notoriety of the Zapatista movement. The primary academic course facilitated by the Human Development programme is the two-year MA in rural development. Students who stay in the programme for one year receive a diploma in rural development. Some students are awarded funding to continue their research even further so that they may complete a doctorate with the Human Development programme.

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Felix M. Bivens

This chapter lays out briefly how the work of the Citizenship Development Research Consortium (CDRC) is impacting university curricula and pedagogy across a global selection of higher education institutions (HEIs). The CDRC formed a teaching and learning group which has been experimenting with various ways in which citizenship can be taught within a formal university curricula and a traditional classroom setting. Not all members of the CRDC are university researchers. The Indian non-governmental organization (NGO) in Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA) has been one of the core institutional members of the group. PRIA has been an influential pioneer in participatory action research (PAR) and community-based research (CBR) in the global South. PRIA has designed a two-year MA in participatory development which includes a year of intensive coursework and a year of PAR fieldwork.

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Markku Hokkanen

This chapter deals with relations between the colonial medical service and major British missions in early colonial Malawi (c. 1891–1940). It focuses on the networks that connected missions with the medical service and co-operation between the two in information sharing, public health campaigns and the medical training of African staff. Then, the chapter analyses conflicts between missionaries and the colonial state, contests over authority and critiques of policy and practice. Co-operation between the British missions and the colonial medical service in Malawi was extensive and mutually beneficial, but there were also important areas of conflict and contestation. These clashes were kept mostly private, as both sides attempted to present a united front as medical collaborators. However, Western medicine in colonial Malawi was not monolithic or marked by simple dualism between state and missions. Medical practice, practitioners, knowledge and materials were constituted, transferred and connected in complex imperial networks that included Medical Officers, missionary physicians and various medical middles.

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Michael Lawrence and Rachel Tavernor

This collection interrogates the representation of humanitarian crisis and catastrophe, and the refraction of humanitarian intervention and action, from the mid-twentieth century to the present, across a diverse range of media forms: traditional and contemporary screen media (film, television and online video) as well as newspapers, memoirs, music festivals and social media platforms (such as Facebook, YouTube and Flickr). The book thus explores the historical, cultural and political contexts that have shaped the mediation of humanitarian relationships since the middle of the twentieth century. Together, the chapters illustrate the continuities and connections, as well as the differences, which have characterised the mediatisation of both states of emergency and acts of amelioration. The authors reveal and explore the significant synergies between the humanitarian enterprise, the endeavour to alleviate the suffering of particular groups, and media representations, and their modes of addressing and appealing to specific publics. The chapters consider the ways in which media texts, technologies and practices reflect and shape the shifting moral, political, ethical, rhetorical, ideological and material dimensions of international humanitarian emergency and intervention, and have become integral to the changing relationships between organisations, institutions, governments, individual actors and entire sectors.

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Chris Beasley and Heather Brook

In Part II of this book, we turn our attention from state–citizen relations to citizen-to-citizen political relationalities. Here, we explore movies that foreground more intimate forms of power relations in the private realm, focusing on gender relations, sexuality, and associated identity categories. In chapter 7, our focus is on gender. Hollywood’s ‘patriarchal legacy’ continues in the virtual exclusion of women from key creative roles, and in the derogation of ‘chick flicks’ – namely, movies supposed to appeal to women. In addition, we identify myths reiterated in romantic movies. Like fear films, romance films are rarely viewed as ‘political’. However, they are gendered and gendering – that is, they both reflect and produce gendered power relations.

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Chris Beasley and Heather Brook

In this chapter, we introduce the two main frames deployed throughout the book. The first is conceptual, focusing on political myths and the forms they take in Hollywood film. The nature of such myths is that they are uncritical and provide supposedly timeless explanations. The second framework is historical, identifying the key characteristics of Hollywood eras in order to locate and contextualise their emergent political myths. We use these two frames to show how political mythologies arise from and change in Hollywood movies over time.