Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Power, privilege, and the past: A rhetorical analysis of ideology in cinematic portrayals of memory
by McLean, Gregory J., M.A., Northern Arizona University, 2016, 138; 10251866
Abstract (Summary)

Autobiographical memory is an elusive and ephemeral experience to try and articulate or analyze. It is dynamic, interpretive, and subject to influence. It is malleable and inevitably colored by the variety of beliefs and values held by individuals and which change over the course of a life. With these considerations in mind, is it possible that our own autobiographical memories are ideological? It doesn’t seem a stretch to presume our autobiographical memories are imbued with and surrounded by ideas of racism, sexism, classism, patriarchy, privilege and other ideologies of power; topics like these may be encoded into our personal, interior memories and thus deserve to be scrutinized there. The problem is locating, assessing, and then analyzing ideology within the ephemeral, interiorized, and extremely subjective medium of personal memory. As an attempt to solve this problem, this study examines ideology in cinematic depictions of autobiographical memory.

By analyzing eleven films that include visual depictions of memory, it seems that autobiographical memory and ideology intersect in specific ways. 1. Such memories are not only composed of varying degrees of fact and fiction, but that they are also, in many circumstances, ideological constructions. 2. Autobiographical memories can be ideological not only in the content of the memory but in how autobiographical memory is presumed to operate. 3. In these ways, memories are surrounded by and vulnerable to competing ideologies. It is my hope that this study allows for a continuing conversation about ideology in autobiographical memory as well as how ideologies are affected by perceptions about the nature of remembering, forgetting, and sharing memories.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hardy-Short, Dayle C.
Commitee: Medoff, Norman J., Short, C. Brant
School: Northern Arizona University
Department: School of Communication
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: MAI 56/03M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Film studies
Keywords: Cinema, Critical studies, Film analysis, Ideology, Memory
Publication Number: 10251866
ISBN: 9781369497397