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Title: Moral predicaments in Hollywood cinema : a qualitative study of Singaporean audiences
Authors: Wong, Susan Yoke Chee
Keywords: DRNTU::Humanities::Ethics
DRNTU::Social sciences::Communication::Audience research
DRNTU::Social sciences::Mass media::Media effects
DRNTU::Social sciences::Communication::Film studies
Issue Date: 2019
Source: Wong, S. Y. C. (2019). Moral predicaments in Hollywood cinema : a qualitative study of Singaporean audiences. Doctoral thesis, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Abstract: Since Hollywood films remain the dominant source of movie entertainment in Singapore, this study considered possible influences from the exposure to American culture and values, which may alter perspectives on moral issues in everyday life. The study is informed by the audience reception approach and grounded within the constructivist/ interpretivist paradigm. It examined the reception to films depicting abortion and infidelity within personal and familial relationships among the contemporary multi-religious audience situated in multi-cultural Singapore. Specifically the study examined how films depict moral predicaments through a phenomenological lens, which could potentially alter or reinforce an audience’s usual perspectives on appropriate moral actions and moral character. Content analysis was done on the purposive sample of five Hollywood films: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1, (2011); Revolutionary Road, (2008); The Cider House Rules, (1999); The Bridges of Madison County, (1995); The Age of Innocence, (1993), within the Deontological, Utilitarianism, and Virtue Ethics frameworks. To understand phenomenological experiences of the films, participants in the study watched all five films and filled out questionnaires detailing their responses to the moral predicaments in the films. Semi-structured interviews were conducted on the purposive and quota sample of 15 Singaporeans between the ages of 20-33 from various religious and ethnic backgrounds to determine their moral perspectives of abortion and infidelity, the two key problems under investigation, among other issues in the films. The results showed that the audience moral perspectives on infidelity have Kantian overtones while the majority of participants have a utilitarian outlook on abortion. When faced with the mediated form of social reality in the films, their associations with abortion increased because of the possible scenarios that were unacknowledged before but which modified their perspectives on advancing the position that termination is morally right. In viewing the films, the audiences were also creatively making sense of their experiences as they interpret the moral positions of the films, either associating or disassociating with them according to the moral framework. Thus, the study provides an empirical aspect to Film and Philosophy scholarship and adds knowledge to Audience Reception studies.
DOI: 10.32657/10220/48031
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:SoH Theses

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