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The Figure of the Refugee in Superhero Cinema

AlAwadhi, D; Dittmer, J; (2022) The Figure of the Refugee in Superhero Cinema. Geopolitics , 27 (2) pp. 604-628. 10.1080/14650045.2020.1820484. Green open access

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Abstract

In this paper we argue that superhero cinema offers an opportunity to think through the narratives and affects of the refugee crisis, which are distinct from, but related to, the relatively well-attended-to tropes of journalism. To do so we adopt both the ethical stance of feminist political geography and the analytic methods of popular geopolitics. Our analysis focuses on two films from the burgeoning Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU): Thor: Ragnarok and Captain Marvel. Both films are not ‘refugee films’ per se, but they illustrate the ways in which the ongoing ‘refugee crisis’ is being dealt with in mainstream, corporate Hollywood blockbusters. The two films are considered both in their narrative and affective engineering, as part of an effort to understand the ways in which political subjects might be shaped by the act of viewing. Our analysis uncovers three themes: 1) mobility as power, 2) the aesthetic of modernity, and 3) refugee bodies. We conclude that studies like this can contribute to a broader understanding of the role of whiteness and securitisation in the portrayal of refugees in the Global North.

Type: Article
Title: The Figure of the Refugee in Superhero Cinema
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/14650045.2020.1820484
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/14650045.2020.1820484
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10111631
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