2017 Student Research Conference:
30th Annual Student Research Conference

From Progress to Populism: How Film Shifts Moral Perceptions in the Popular Conscious


Tia A. Sarkar
Dr. Dereck Daschke and Dr. Chad Mohler, Faculty Mentors

While political outcomes derive from a multitude of complex stimuli, film theorist and philosopher Siegfried Kracauer noted the importance of symbols, themes, and motifs in popular films on the public’s perception of morality. It can be understood that morality impacts the political choices people make. To understand another element of Hitler’s rise to power, Kracauer analyzed the popular films of the Weimar Republic to dissect how they shaped the German moral compass.  Mirroring Kracaucer’s study, this research aims to dissect the recurring themes, symbols, and motifs found in film from 2008 through 2016. Using the works of not only Kracauer, but of ethicist Lawrence Blum in dissecting how morality is perceived and film theorists Brent S. Plate and John Lyden on how film symbols are constructed and interpreted, this research hopes to affirm Kracauer’s hypotheses on the impact of film on popular moral thinking. 

Keywords: Film, Morality, Perceptions, Politics , Progressive, Populism , Symbols

Topic(s):Philosophy & Religion
Political Science

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 210-5
Location: VH 1224
Time: 10:30

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