What influence does the cinema have on visual culture and social understanding? In what ways are we products of the cinematic gaze? This timely book, written by one of the leading commentators in the sociology of culture, highlights the extent to which the cinema has contributed to the rise of voyeurism throughout society. The cinema not only turns its audience into voyeurs, eagerly following the lives of its screen characters, but repeatedly casts its key players as onlookers, spying on other people's lives. The nature of the cinematic voyeur - the obsessive outsider, the ethnic or sexual Other - is examined in depth, as are its implications for contemporary society. Denzin analyses Hollywood's manipulations of gender, race and class, and, drawing on the work of Foucault argues that the cinematic gaze must be understood as part of the machinery of surveillance and power which regulates social behaviour in the late twentieth century. The effect of the cinema in the social construction of everyday life has rarely been explored with such penetration and clarity.
Ranging over a rich and varied array of material from film and film literature, and encompassing a critical interrogation of traditional realist ethnographic and cinematic texts, The Cinematic Society will be essential reading for students of social theory, sociology of culture and film studies. 'Adopting as a central premise the notion that the constitution of subjectivity occurs through the gaze of the Other, and locating the voyeur as the anti-hero of cinematic society, Denzin enters into a brilliant analysis of multiple forms of the voyeur's gaze' Peter McLaren, University of California, Los Angeles
Norman K. Denzin is Distinguished Professor of Communications, College of Communications Scholar, and Research Professor of Communications, Sociology, and Humanities at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Denzin is the author or editor of more than two dozen books, including Indians on Display; Custer on Canvas; The Qualitative Manifesto; Qualitative Inquiry Under Fire; Searching for Yellowstone; Reading Race; Interpretive Ethnography; The Cinematic Society; The Voyeur's Gaze; and The Alcoholic Self. He is past editor of The Sociological Quarterly, co-editor (with Yvonna S. Lincoln) of four editions of the Handbook of Qualitative Research, coeditor (with Michael D. Giardina) of eight plenary volumes from the annual Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, co-editor (with Lincoln) of the methods journal Qualitative Inquiry, founding editor of Cultural Studies/Critical Methodologies and International Review of Qualitative Research, and editor of three book series.