Representations of Iran in British Documentary, 1920s – 2006

Ganjaei, Sara (2010) Representations of Iran in British Documentary, 1920s – 2006. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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The research examines the representations of Iran in British documentaries made between 1920s
and 2006. It aims to: a)investigate in British documentary the represented position of Iran in the
world and in comparison to Britain, as well as how the positioning has evolved along historical
change inside Iran, in the outside world, and in Iran’s relation with the outside world and Britain;
b) reveal how, as mediated text, documentary film acts as part of the broader representational
regimes in a social context in which these positionings are produced through contemporary social
and political discourses.
The research looks for the underpinnings of the documentary representations of Iran in the
master-narrative of ‘Modernity’ and its relevant sub-narratives (industrialisation, modernisation,
and democracy), as well as the narratives of Modernity’s Other (Orientalism and Islamicfundamentalism).
It is shown that the films made about Iran before the Iranian revolution of 1979
are marked by the themes of industrialization and modernization with a focus on the activities of
the British oil industry in Iran and/or the efforts of the Pahlavi dynasty to modernize Iran. After
the 1979 revolution however, the focus of films shifts from Iran’s socio-economic issues to its
political ones. Iran and its relations with the outside world are seen increasingly through the prism
of the discourses of democracy and Islamic-fundamentalism in the films of this ear.
British media coverage of Iran provides a case study opportunity to examine the evolution over a
relatively long period of time of continuous and changing coverage of one country by another.
Through studies such as this thesis, focusing on the use of film as a tool in international sociopolitical
representation, the transition from 20th to 21st Century becomes in itself an era for critical
interpretation across the social sciences. Through situating the interrelation between the media
and international power struggles in a historical perspective, this kind of research can therefore be
a valuable source in investigating the power-related functions of the media itself.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Film and Television Studies (former - to 2012)
Depositing User: Megan Ruddock
Date Deposited: 13 Feb 2014 09:57
Last Modified: 13 Feb 2014 09:57

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