By Toby Miller, Robert Stam
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Extra info for A Companion to Film Theory (Blackwell Companions in Cultural Studies, 1)
His work thus typifies E. H. Gombrich's critique of art history as ``Hegelianism without metaphysics'' (cited in Bordwell 1997: 44). In ``The Idea of Genre in the American Cinema,'' Ed Buscombe takes a position similar to Alloway's use of iconology, suggesting that generic visual conventions can be productively analyzed without assuming that they are part of a comprehensive thematic structure. ) is not comprehensive or definitive of what westerns are about, but it is saying ``something both intelligible and useful,'' namely that ``the visual conventions provide a framework within which the story can be told'' (Buscombe 1995: 15).
In early genre criticism, this genre morphology was frequently combined with a genre/myth analogy, relating generic rise and fall in a mimetic relationship to changes in social consciousness. This audience-driven morphology assumes that film viewers either validate existing mythological forms or require that they undergo revision. John Cawelti has argued, for example, that following their phases of innovation and classicism, genres go through a period of revisionist ``self-awareness on the part of both creators and audiences,'' resulting in the popularity of ``parodic and satiric treatments,'' and the eventual formation of new genres (Cawelti 1979: 578).
Although invoked by numerous film theorists, many have noted that this model of generic change relies on the degree to which commercial film genres ``reflect'' the collective sensibilities of a mass audience ± a problematic thesis that will be explored in more detail below. On the other hand, Steven Neale has argued that when seen in a larger historical context, the formalist approach to generic change can indicate the social dimensions of genre as a changing set of reading practices, rather than a fixed one.
A Companion to Film Theory (Blackwell Companions in Cultural Studies, 1) by Toby Miller, Robert Stam