Playing the villain : understanding the punishment and portrayal of terrorists
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Playing the Villain argues that the portrayal and punishment of terrorists in the Western media perpetuates colonialist attitudes, due to the visual connections between these modern images and past or fictional representations of iconic, punished villains. A theory of scapegoating related to intervisuality supports this argument, by explaining that as a ritual dependent on and developed by cultural history and mythology, scapegoating requires engagement with recognisable visual motifs that repeat and perpetuate Western, colonialist attitudes. Underlying, repeated narrative patterns ensure that the scapegoating ritual functions in a way that is cathartic and builds national unity following social crisis. This need for catharsis requires that there be a scapegoated villain whose demise may be celebrated, and that the villain is objectified and fetishised through visual representation and spectacle.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: 2022-10-26
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Print and electronic copy restricted until 26th October 2022
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