Hollywood Shot by Shot: Alcoholism in American Cinema

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9780202303451: Hollywood Shot by Shot: Alcoholism in American Cinema

To what extent have Hollywood feature films shaped the meanings that Americans attach to alcoholics, their families, and the alcoholic condition? To what extent has the mass culture of the movie industry itself been conceptually shaped by a broad, external societal discourse? Norman Denzin brings to his life-long study of alcoholism a searching interest in how cultural texts signify and lend themselves to interpretation within a social nexus. Both historical and diachronic in his approach, Denzin identifies five periods in the alcoholism films made between 1932 and the end of the 1980s, and offers a detailed critical reading of thirty-seven films produced during these six decades.

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About the Author:

Norman K. Denzin is professor of sociology, cinema studies, and interpretive theory at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He was awarded the George Herbert Mead Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction. He is the author of several books, including The Alcoholic Society, Children and Their Caretakers, Hollywood Shot by Shot, Sociological Methods, and The Values of Social Science.

Review:

"Denzin has gone on an exhaustive bar-crawl through hundreds of movies, returning with evidence that the film about drinking is a genre of its own. He writes from sound knowledge about alcoholism--which, unlike other diseases, is frequently viewed with bittersweet romanticism."

Roger Ebert

"Professor Denzin has produced a searching and provocative interpretation of more than a half-century of Hollywood's social and personal construction of the problem drinker in America. Readable by both lay persons and specialists, Denzin's book provides us with the most comprehensive understanding of this topic to date."

Stanford M. Lyman, Robert J. Morrow Eminent Scholar in Social Science, Florida Atlantic University

"An eminent sociologist and leading authority on alcoholism, Denzin also writes skillfully about films as films and is comfortable with postmodern interpretive theoryàa genuinely interdisciplinary work of the first order."

Robert L. Carringer, author, The Making of Citizen Kane

“Denzin is a sociologist whose specialty is alcoholism and who has an interest in social psychology. His treatment of the alcoholic in American movies is informed by theories of symbolic interactionism and deconstructionism... It will most likely appeal to sociologists and film critics because of its extensive references, filmography, and bibliography.”

D. W. Hoover, Choice

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