The malady lingers on : the abject and contemporary Asian horror cinema

Hey, D 2019, The malady lingers on : the abject and contemporary Asian horror cinema , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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The aim of this study is to bring together abjection theory, as elaborated in Julia Kristeva’s Powers of Horror and other relevant works (particularly, the establishment of “symbolic” and “semiotic” realms), with contemporary Asian horror cinema, in order to construct a detailed and effective framework for the application of abjection theory within film studies. Examining various aspects of abjection theory (purging rituals; rites of passage; the construct and collapse of borders; the impingement of the past upon the present; and the monstrous-feminine) alongside the major themes of contemporary Asian horror cinema (the vengeful spirit; the generation of fear through modern technologies; myth, cult, and urban legend; and horror within the high school and the home), this thesis first reconciles diverse and complex bodies of critical and theoretical literature, before applying this data to a series of case studies spread over six chapters (each dealing with a different theme of abjection theory and/or prevalent motifs in the films), analysing twenty-six contemporary Asian horror films from across Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Thailand. Challenging existing models of application and a selection of key readings in this field, I propose that combining theory and film does not yield a conservative outlook, as some previous studies argue (in particular, Barbara Creed, 1993). Instead, I demonstrate the importance of applied theory to this relatively new area of cinema in a study that establishes radical elements within the texts through the illustration of abjection as both a subjective psychological experience and a chaotic force, challenging the arbitrary borders erected to establish normative symbolic subjectivity. The introduction of the abject element within the films’ narratives of abjection highlights the fragile nature of ordered symbolic society, and the abject’s lasting presence strongly indicates the precipice upon which symbolic authority balances.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Contributors: Willis, A (Supervisor)
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media
Funders: Pathways to Excellent Scholarship - University of Salford
Depositing User: Daniel Hey
Date Deposited: 07 May 2019 10:05
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 21:23

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