British National Identity and Maritime Film and Television, 1960-2012
AbstractAbstract This thesis considers the mythology connected to the maritime sphere and notions of British national identity and collective unity through the projection of the maritime in British film and television. Specifically, it traces the evolution of this myth through the period 1960-2012, a post-Imperialist era characterised by broad social, economic and political changes and internal divisions within the historic Union of Great Britain, demonstrating how British culture continually uses the past to comment on the present. The thesis argues that the maritime remains a vibrant cultural site of British national self-examination and re-examination despite the precipitous decline of both Empire and Royal Navy within this time period. The specific audio-visual properties of the filmic and televisual forms and their position as the most successful cultural industries of the 20th Century suggest themselves as vital components for interrogating national myth and projections of collective unity and the attendant challenges to these. Aligned to this is the manner in which critical reception continues to operate as an indigent of collective memory, morality and communality aligning itself as provision not only of positive cultural taste but also of a wider debate on the merits or de-merits of the specific components of myth and identity. Each text is situated within its specific historical and industrial context and a combination of primary sources, textual analysis and reception studies are unified to argue that both the texts themselves and their reception within critical discourse collectively negotiate the role that media cultures play in constructing and challenging notions of collective identity and myth. Finally, this thesis argues constructively, that the seemingly banal cultural symbols of national identity and mythology, far from being an irrelevance in a globalised age, remain amongst the most vital cultural, social, political and economic discourses of the age.
Fryers, Mark (2015) British National Identity and Maritime Film and Television, 1960-2012. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.