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Film Studies For Dummies by James Cateridge

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Chapter 15

Exploring New Approaches to Film Theory – and Beyond

In This Chapter

arrow Deconstructing post-structuralism

arrow Considering postmodernism and gender theory

arrow Diagnosing the health of High Theory

What’s going on with film studies’ fascination with all things theory? No sooner have you grasped classical film theory and then managed to get your head around structuralism (I discuss both in Chapter 13) than you have to deal with post-structuralism and post-colonialism, not to mention post-feminism and postmodernism, which for some reason doesn’t normally require a hyphen.

Film theorists love sticking post in front of everything. In regular usage, the prefix post- simply means ‘after’, which makes it a useful add-on when discussing historical periods or other processes. So in this sense, post-structuralism is a label for a period of theorising that came after the time when everyone was into structuralism. Simple, right?

Well, unfortunately not: this post- also implies a kind of opposition to the ideas of the earlier period. It’s not quite as strong as anti- (against) but it comes pretty close in some cases. Just to confuse matters further, in strictly chronological terms, film theorists ...

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