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Motifs, textures and folds: Japanese popular visual culture as transcultural and phenomenological flow


Motifs, textures and folds: Japanese popular visual culture as transcultural and phenomenological flow

Cools, Valérie (2014) Motifs, textures and folds: Japanese popular visual culture as transcultural and phenomenological flow. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Cools_PhD_F2014.pdf - Accepted Version
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Since the 1980s, Japanese popular visual culture has known great popularity in Western Europe and North America, most strikingly in the form of manga, anime and Japanese video games. However, one is struck by how fragmented this cultural flow is: not only is it composed of three different media, but it also contains works that are wildly different from one another. Can something be said to connect these works together, other than their Japanese provenance? This dissertation proposes two avenues for answering this question and establishing a certain cohesiveness within the fabric of Japanese popular visual culture as it has been exported: on the one hand, this thesis explores recurrent content and themes (motifs) within a purposefully varied corpus of manga, anime and games; on the other, it establishes phenomenological consistencies (textures and folds) across the corpus, demonstrating that these works provide medium-based experiences that are similar in significant respects. Parallel to this demonstration, this dissertation examines the effects of this cohesion on the Western reception of these works. The author argues that, while cultural motifs evoking “Japaneseness” play an initial part in gathering these works into a perceived flow, it is their common phenomenology that cements their perceived cohesion and facilitates their integration into non-Japanese imaginaries. By analysing the transcultural travels of Japanese popular visual culture, this thesis examines a case where differentiated imaginaries meet and merge, and thereby develops a theory of the imaginary as phenomenological and processual space, as a fabric that surrounds us and which we collectively and continually weave and unravel. Ultimately, the author determines that this particular imaginary is regulated by two key notions: on the one hand, a dynamic of flux and stasis, and on the other, a series of interconnected and intermingled folds.

Divisions:Concordia University > Research Units > Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture
Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Humanities: Interdisciplinary Studies
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Cools, Valérie
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Date:July 2014
Thesis Supervisor(s):Dyens, Ollivier and Jim, Alice Ming Wai and Simon, Bart
ID Code:978810
Deposited On:26 Nov 2014 14:07
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:47
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