Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The doctor meets the doctor: Steven Moffat's "Doctor Who" and the Freudian hermeneutic of suspicion
by Hanson, Kathleen A., M.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2015, 64; 1587900
Abstract (Summary)

Television is a widespread, easily accessible component of popular culture that we invite into the most intimate of environments: our homes. Like other forms of popular culture, it is not only influenced by religious belief, but also has the power to transmit both traditional and subversive religious ideas to viewers.

This thesis draws upon methods used in the study of religion and popular culture to argue for the potential of television to influence religious belief. Television can transform contemporary thought and renegotiate ideas of identity as well as reposition social debate and conflict in both secular and religious environments.

Focusing on the British television show Doctor Who, this thesis closely analyzes recent episodes of the series to illustrate the ways in which current show-runner Steven Moffat's story arc puts forth a Freudian critique institutional religion. This thesis demonstrates that Doctor Who has developed in such a way as to reveal the deception of organized religion and its destabilization of modern notions of rationality. Rather than banishing religion to the trash heap of history, however, Moffat's Doctor Who encourages believers to reevaluate traditional religious belief and practice.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lowentrout, Peter
Commitee: Piar, Carlos R., Stone, Jon R.
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Religious Studies
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 54/04M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Religion, Mass communications, Film studies
Keywords: British religion, Doctor who, Freud, Moffat, Ricoeur, Television and religion
Publication Number: 1587900
ISBN: 978-1-321-72360-1
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