Universität Wien FIND

124263 KO Critical Media Analysis (2019W)

LOOK BACK IN ANGER - Cultural Representations of Defiance & Alienation in Western Capitalist Consumer Societies

6.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 12 - Anglistik
Continuous assessment of course work

Registration/Deregistration

Details

max. 30 participants
Language: English

Lecturers

Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Thursday 03.10. 12:00 - 14:00 Unterrichtsraum Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3G-EG-21
Thursday 10.10. 12:00 - 14:00 Unterrichtsraum Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3G-EG-21
Thursday 17.10. 12:00 - 14:00 Unterrichtsraum Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3G-EG-21
Thursday 24.10. 12:00 - 14:00 Unterrichtsraum Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3G-EG-21
Thursday 31.10. 12:00 - 14:00 Unterrichtsraum Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3G-EG-21
Thursday 07.11. 12:00 - 14:00 Unterrichtsraum Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3G-EG-21
Thursday 21.11. 12:00 - 14:00 Unterrichtsraum Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3G-EG-21
Thursday 28.11. 12:00 - 14:00 Unterrichtsraum Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3G-EG-21
Thursday 05.12. 12:00 - 14:00 Unterrichtsraum Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3G-EG-21
Thursday 12.12. 12:00 - 14:00 Unterrichtsraum Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3G-EG-21
Thursday 09.01. 12:00 - 14:00 Unterrichtsraum Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3G-EG-21
Thursday 16.01. 12:00 - 14:00 Unterrichtsraum Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3G-EG-21
Thursday 23.01. 12:00 - 14:00 Unterrichtsraum Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3G-EG-21
Thursday 30.01. 12:00 - 14:00 Unterrichtsraum Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3G-EG-21

Information

Aims, contents and method of the course

Taking the title of John Osborne’s play, this course we will focus on an array of postwar & postmodernist media and literary texts which represent paradigmatic and interrelated articulations of radical cultural discontent and “gender trouble”. More specifically, we will focus on men’s and women‘s defiant, aggressive rebellion against history, tradition, and patriarchal (bourgeois) social structures and disruptive sense of alienation of self and in society. Two major aspects will be highlighted here:
1.) that these representations remarkably „gender“ the target of anger and negotiate the riot against alienation in different ways depending on whether men or women are subjects of enunciation
2.) that several ideological, thematic and representational parallels appear between texts
Cultural theories emphasize in diverse ways that alienation - which triggers anger - does not result from the isolated praxis of an individual, but from a particular organization of society, which in turn determines the ability of subjects to comprehend the underlying social relations and forces. The particular organization of capitalist society forms a field of denied possibilities for rebellious individuals originally predominantly connoted in the masculine – as e.g. can be seen in the socio-artistic conception of “Angry Young Men”.
On the one hand, will search for reasons to explain for a glorification of male anger and cruelty towards women and homosexuals. In this context we will see how sexism, racism and class relations are concrete examples of restraints upon the realization of freedom through praxis. However, in our in-depth analysis we will also find out that such restraints never constitute absolute barriers. On the other hand, we will analyze how the aggressive struggle constitutes itself for women in different terms because they address the difficulties to formulate a politics of representation in the face of invisibility or to contend with the stereotypical visibility of the angry woman as “monstrous”.
We will raise the following major questions:
--What are the results of these articulations of anger & alienation and are they historically-and gender-specific?
--How is anger expressed: linguistically, psychically, physically, symbolically, and stylistically?
--Why are resentment of war and socio-political rebellion against capitalist culture/consumer-industry compensated in a war of the sexes and in demonizing, misogynistic constructions of capitalist consumer society as „feminized“?
--Why are disillusionment and laments of the loss of fathers compensated in performances of raging machismo against „omnipotent“mothers?
--Why do we frequently find anger and alienation resolved in a blurring of gender-identity; a fascination with marginlessness in a convergence of life-and-death drives & expressions of masochistic and sadistic impulses; or in an „escape/entrapment“ in madness or suicide?
Since the representations under discussion center on gender-power relations and symbolic manifestations of the Oedipal crisis and obsession, we will contextualize meanings of the “master-slave-dialectics” & the Oedipal model as cultural meta-narratives (e.g. Beauvoir, Benjamin). Oedipus and Antigone are most prominent figures in poststructuralist theories (e.g. Butler, Irigaray) and will be used as blueprints to analyze men’s and women’s (self-) destructive aggression in terms of a sign of failure of communication and a bleak desire to make oneself understood. Concepts of “herethics” / “outlaw ethics” (Kristeva) and “ethics of catastrophe” (Kane) will be used examine how the alienated self finds integration through the creation of counter-narratives and new contact-zones which crush stereotypes and shatter the entrapment in aporetic states. In this context we will also centrally consider the culturalist critique of consumer-society and Baudrillard’s replacement of ideas of “alienation” with “simulation”.

Assessment and permitted materials

Regular Participation
Oral Presentation (10-15 mins)
Participation in Plenum Discussions
Final Written Paper (3500 words)
Short Reflections (300 words)

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Examination topics

Reading list

Texts to be analyzed:
Osborne, John. Look Back In Anger. (1956)
Ginsberg, Allen. “Howl”. (1958)
Plath, Sylvia. “Lady Lazarus” / “Medusa”/ “Colossus”/”Ariel” (1959/60)
Sexton, Anne. “The Book of Folly” (1972)
Pink Floyd. The Wall. (1979)
Punk Subculture (70s/80s) – White Riot / Semiotic Guerilla Warfare
Bikini Kill Zine. “Riot Grrrl Manifesto – History Is a Weapon”. (1991)
Harron, Mary. I Shot Andy Warhol. (1996)
Fincher, David /Palahniuk, Chuck Fight Club. (1999 – movie)
Kane, Sarah. 4.48 Psychosis. (1999) Fever Ray. “When I Grow Up” (2010)
The Knife & Marit Östberg. Full of Fire. (2013 – short film, music-clip) /album: “Shaking The Habitual”

Theoretical text-excerpts and secondary sources will be available on Moodle

 John Osborne’s „kitchen-sink drama“ of the 1950s compared to Sarah Kane’s „in-yer-face“ theatre of the 1990s
 Allen Ginsberg’s Beat protest-hymn on defiance and defeat „Howl“ compared to the feminist confessional poetry of Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton on marginalization, desire and disruption of the 1950s/60s
 further connecting to Pink Floyd’s radical critique of traumatic engulfment & isolation in The Wall in the 1970s
and the White Riot of Punk Subculture (masculine/white)
 Fincher’s/Palahnuik’s Fight Club on violent rebellion against crisis of manhood and compared to the „Riot Grrl“ movement’s aggressive declaration that „history is a weapon“ in the 1990s & likewise linking back to radical feminist articulations/manifestos as represented in “I Shot Andy Warhol”
 finally we will focus on the feminist/queer protest, representations and performance practices of electronic-avant-garde music-duo „The Knife“ against abject hegemonic structures in the 2010s

Association in the course directory

Studium: UF 344, BA 612, BEd 046/407
Code/Modul: UF 4.2.5-426, BA07.3; BEd 08a.2, BEd 08b.1
Lehrinhalt: 12-4260

Last modified: Fr 20.09.2019 10:28