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Schizophrenia as metaphor : 'madness' and the cinematic asylum

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Schizophrenia as metaphor : 'madness' and the cinematic asylum

Goodyear, Susan (2004) Schizophrenia as metaphor : 'madness' and the cinematic asylum. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Schizophrenia has been described as one of the most severe and enigmatic of mental disorders. It is thus both a disease in bio-medical terms and a trope prevalent within popular culture. This thesis explores schizophrenia as a metaphor in film, examining its historical antecedents, its bio-medical definitions and its idiomatic uses. It is my argument that cultural, theoretical and bio-medical uses of schizophrenia inform our understandings and misunderstandings of this disease. Tuning into schizophrenia's increasing frequency in modern parlance prompted my primary research question: How is schizophrenia deployed metaphorically in film? I discuss the paradoxes implicit in using schizophrenia as metaphor through (a) a discussion of the idea of metaphor, and (b) through a brief recounting of the history of madness, but primarily through (c) an interrogation of three dominant metaphors that my research reveals. These include: schizophrenia as monstrosity, schizophrenia as a way to describe a divided self, and schizophrenia as a divine gift. An exploration of experimental documentaries by Arthur Lipsett reveals an alternative way of expressing the illness, and thinking through the poetic dimensions of communication.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Communication Studies
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Goodyear, Susan
Pagination:v, 132 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Communication Studies
Date:2004
Thesis Supervisor(s):Sawchuk, Kim
ID Code:7861
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:18 Aug 2011 14:08
Last Modified:18 Aug 2011 14:08
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