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An investigation into identity formation and adolescent identity in American teen film, with a focus on interstitiality, angst and alienation

Southcott, James Alexander (2021) An investigation into identity formation and adolescent identity in American teen film, with a focus on interstitiality, angst and alienation. Masters thesis, York St John University.

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Abstract

Through its broad exploration of teen identity formation, interstitial angst, alienation and anxieties adolescent media is a unique polysemic element of Western culture that can be used to identify wider social discourses habituating within American society. For many years adolescent genres have been underappreciated and vilified as simple juvenile stories concerning teen angst. The aim of this thesis, therefore, is to explore the representations of the reciprocals of adolescent mental health issues and how these function in illuminating problems propagated by Neoliberalist values, Neotribalsim and Hypermasculinity, to name just a few. Chapter I of this thesis will explore the emergence of the teenager across the twentieth century through the filmography of actors such as James Dean and Marlon Brando. The chapter will then focus on the influential adolescent literature of the twentieth century such as The Catcher in the Rye; the novel’s angst-fuelled protagonist will be examined in his relation to the social problems ingrained within American society such as Neoliberalism. Chapter II will then explore the concept of race within the teen genre and how the mental health issues of ethnic minorities can indicate how an adolescent’s environment can have a monumental impact on their identity formation as well as social problems such as hypermasculinity, cultural trauma, tokenism and gentrification. Chapter III will discuss how concepts such as intersectionality as well as Tokenisms are linked to the mental health dispositions of the LGBT+ community within the teen genre. Chapter IV will then be used to examine case studies of the representation of mental health issues throughout the teen genre concerning their function in representing social problems such as social media
consumption, political criticisms and censorship. Chapter V will then conclude with an investigation into how violence within the teen genre can indicate further social discourse
surrounding school shootings, interstitial angst and cultural trauma with a particular focus on the film Elephant with its relationship to the Columbine massacre.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Status: Published
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
School/Department: School of Humanities
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/5632

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