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Narrative Unrest: The Politics of Narrative in Women Artists’ Film and Video

Jacquin, MC; (2013) Narrative Unrest: The Politics of Narrative in Women Artists’ Film and Video. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

This dissertation examines the politics of narrative in women artists’ film and video. It investigates not only how narrative was and is used as a powerful instrument to offer counter-discourses to those sanctioned by the dominant culture, but also how narrative forms themselves can be invested with political significance. Starting in the 1960s, the supposed neutrality of narrative forms came under sustained attack, particularly by post-structuralist thinkers such as Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault and Julia Kristeva. Their political critique of narrative quickly found its way into the work of experimental film and video makers, whose responses ranged from total rejection to partial and conflicted acceptance. Part One of this thesis seeks to understand the various ways in which narrative was reshaped in the work of women filmmakers and video artists from the 1970s and 1980s – who, I argue, could not do away with narrative as easily as men. It focuses on the independent scene in Britain, revealing the impact of feminist theory and the women’s movement on the ‘return to narrative’ in British avant-garde film and video, and the major contribution of women artists to the deconstruction and refashioning of narrative forms. It also proposes detailed analyses of particular narrative strategies, as found in the work of Laura Mulvey, Lis Rhodes, Tina Keane and Zoe Redman, among others. Part Two brings the question of the politics of narrative into the twenty-first century through an in-depth discussion of three contemporary video installations by Chantal Akerman, Eija-Liisa Ahtila, and Catherine Sullivan. It shows how the narrative strategies deployed by an older generation of film and video makers have been re-articulated in new ways in these works, and proposes new terms to understand the use, meaning, and political resonance of narrative in contemporary film and video: Porous, Schizophrenic and Contagious.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Narrative Unrest: The Politics of Narrative in Women Artists’ Film and Video
Language: English
Additional information: Permission for digitisation not received.
UCL classification: UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1396991
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