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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Imagining selves : the politics of representation, film narratives and adult education Gazetas, Aristides


In today's world of communication technology, film and television more than ever inform and persuade us about our world through a wealth of images. The purpose of this study is to explore "the various way that film narratives function to construct the social reality that constitutes the lived world of social actors" (Mumby, 1993:5). The thesis argues that film narratives and video productions are historical social/political artifacts incorporating important social and political issues through the use of ideology, rhetoric and genre in the "politics of representation." The study examines a number of theoretical positions proposed by adult educators in relation to five poststructural perspectives chosen for this research. The analysis begins with a Lacanian interpretation of subjectivity in the complexities of female bonding with the Other, then follows with Foucault's concepts of knowledge and power, Derrida's perspective on differance, Baudrillard's thesis on "simulacra" and closes with Lyotard's philosophy on the "postmodern condition." The study argues that objects of knowledge are locally and historically specific, and that they become available for human understanding only within certain "language games," "paradigms" and "discursive formations." Following the lead of these French thinkers, the study investigates the central role language plays in the process of socialization while questioning simultaneously, the ideological processes forming our subjectivities. Also the study challenges the foundational basis for historical knowledge and the existing state of cultural power, one that structures identities of Self and Other within societal forms of domination and exploitation. The research concludes with reasons why a postmodern position extends the imaginary spaces for cultural narratives and offers alternative models for adult education. These positions are "necessary illusions" grounded upon our understanding of cultural identities, and focus upon a new engagement of adult education through a "politics of difference." The thesis attempts to help adult learners comprehend their own cultural situation through an explicit understanding of how narrative discourses operate within the "politics of representation" on two levels: one, as a communication phenomenon that pedagogically and culturally constructs human identities through role-playing, and two, as a social phenomenon that both reinforces and challenges the social order.

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