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“Addicts, Crooks, and Drunks”: Reimagining Vancouver’s Skid Road through the Photography of Fred Herzog, 1957–70

Title:

“Addicts, Crooks, and Drunks”: Reimagining Vancouver’s Skid Road through the Photography of Fred Herzog, 1957–70

Ng, Tara (2016) “Addicts, Crooks, and Drunks”: Reimagining Vancouver’s Skid Road through the Photography of Fred Herzog, 1957–70. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This thesis explores how Canadian artist Fred Herzog’s (b. 1930) empathetic photographs of unattached, white, working-class men living on Vancouver’s Skid Road in the 1950s and 1960s contest dominant newspaper representations. Herzog’s art practice is framed as a sociologically-oriented form of flânerie yielding original, nuanced, and critical images that transcend the stereotypes of the drunk, the criminal, the old-age pensioner, and the sexual deviant on Skid Road. I apply Critical Discourse Analysis to newspaper articles published in the Vancouver Sun and the Province between 1950 and 1970 to uncover how newspaper discourse produced and reproduced the socioeconomic marginalization of men on Skid Road. Through a comparative analysis, this thesis shows how Herzog’s photographs challenge dominant newspaper discourse in the following ways: by expanding the Skid Road discourse to allow the possibility of positive subject-positions; by demonstrating a dialectical rather than causal relationship between masculinity and space; and by exposing the ways in which the supposedly deviant sexual practices of men on Skid Road in fact stemmed from the hegemonic capitalist and patriarchal structures of Western society. Drawing on feminist, social, and Neo-Marxian class theories, this study not only deconstructs dominant perspectives but also gives visibility to alternative ones, thereby underscoring working-class subjectivities and uncovering the ways in which working-class masculinity on Skid Road both defied and conformed to hegemonic masculinity in the postwar period.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Art History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Ng, Tara
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Art History
Date:April 2016
Thesis Supervisor(s):Langford, Martha
ID Code:981032
Deposited By: TARA NG
Deposited On:31 May 2016 19:41
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:52
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