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Research Proposal


The Warrior Image in American Cinema
And it’s Political Effects on Middle Eastern Audience

Abstract

This research aims at following the intricate relationship between the American film medium and the political issues of the Middle East, through focusing on the usage of the Warrior image in American cinema. In actuality, it can be taken for yet another military device implemented for many political and ideological struggles. Through the history of the United States regarding military actions, Hollywood had, in turn, reacted either in a negative or a positive fashion, giving an emphasis on humanitarian issues, in order to preserve the dramatic plot. Seeing how the this medium is depending on the audience factor in exporting the American culture locally and abroad, it can be noted that these films usually have double effects, either as to glorify and promote, or criticize and oppose. Disregarding historical integrity when it comes to adapting or using the issue of war, it has been realized how critical the role of such films is, acting as an effective factor in influencing the public opinion, leading to the interference of various parties, in order to contribute to such influence.



In this regard, the research is to employ previous academic study in the area of drama and cinema, integrating into the researcher’s experience as a political editor. It aims at providing an analysis as to prove the relationship between the wars in which the United States has participated in the Middle East region, starting with Vietnam and ending with the Gulf War, and the effects they had on the American and Asian public opinion.

Moreover, the researcher attempts at following the reactions induced by the artistic and human side within this dramatic scheme. The research intends to explore the role of these films in the process of mental and cultural connection between the Western and Asian viewers, while presenting the war in Vietnam. An example would be the film “Platoon”, considered closer to the expressive method in which reality was depicted. It has received commercial and critical success in the States. On the other hand, action based films, or those more fantastically inclined and set during WWII, are better received in some Asian and Arab countries.

The researcher has found that the American Warrior image is somewhat a lasting one, creating an enigmatic effect and influencing the political issues in the Middle East, in both a negative and positive manner.


Introduction

In the essay Simulcra and Simulation, Jean Baudrillard had asserted that the modern world establishes symbols, representation or simulations that stand on their own and have no relation to the object which they represent originally (Baudrillard, 1981). Baudrillard stated that the occurrences in the society during the time of cultural post modernity have made it reliant on these symbols and representations, making people lose contact with the real world. This tends reality to imitate the symbols and models that now precede and determine the real world. From Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulation (1994), “The territory no longer precedes the map, nor does it survive it. It is nevertheless the map that precedes the territory—precession of simulacra—that engenders the territory" (p. 1). Moreover, Baudrillard claimed that postmodernism in simulation and simulacra “no longer precedes the map, nor does it survive it. It is nevertheless the map that precedes the territory—precession of simulacra—that engenders the territory" (p. 2).

The main question then is how this theoretical concept applies and become significant to the contemporary world. Through several examples, Baudrillard noted several actual phenomena that further explain and identify the loss of distinctions between simulacrum and reality.

One related media example is media culture made up of the television, magazines, billboards, film and the Internet. These contemporary types of media are not related to the transmission of stories or information but with the interpretation of people’s private selves. Hence these media instruments tend to make people approach one another through lens or media images. These occurrences then make people obtain goods not because of their needs based on reality but more on their desire, which are primarily defined by commercialized images. These commercialized images then keep people away from reality. The internet for instance, can make people create personalities that are different from their real characters; hence, most of the things seen on the internet are mere products of imagination and creativity. The same thing applies with movies. Films can create images that are beyond reality yet they are integrated into real situations, making the audience feel that these simulations are possible.

Hence, many people are loosing their identity as well as their own prospectus in life. Concurrently, if people loose their identities, the country itself will loose its own identity. Movies are very influential in the lives of many people considering that people think that the scenes in the movie may actually happen in their real life.

In line with this, this paper is designed to evaluate the political effects of warrior image of American cinema on Middle East audience. This paper will also try to find the possible cure to negative effects that the audience may obtain.

Problem Statement
The focus of this problem statement is to determine the political effects of warrior image in American cinema on Middle Eastern audience. The researcher is hopeful that this study will yield a significant result in terms of both positive and negative impact with respect to the needs of an effective strategy to be used in coping with the whatever negative political effects on Middle Eastern audience. Specifically, the researcher will answer the following questions:

1. How far has American filmmaking gone to distribute and market the American Warrior image in the Middle East, and how successful the process of ideological and cultural influence is?

2. Why have most of those against the Warrior image gone as far as to employ revolutionary artistic techniques, closer to the Brechtean method to alienate, or the use of Distanacation as called by some critics, through the use of argumentative dialogue and editing and imagery.

3. How successful have these films been in drawing the Middle Eastern audience toward American culture as part of historical transformation, and what political tools were implemented?

4. What explains the appearance of those calling to boycott such films considered as cultural threat to national security, especially those glorifying the American Warrior image, as in Iran, Libya, Japan, and Vietnam, and why do mentioned countries retaliate with adversely artistic films?

5. What is the relationship between the artistic form of these movies, and the political and literary formula and its reflection on the mind of the audience toward the American Warrior image?
Significance of the Study

This research aims at discussing an essential issue, as the researcher believes, as well, in regard to the study of the mutual influence of the American Warrior image and its reflection on the Middle Eastern crisis, artistically. What is intended by such study is to explain the relationship between the viewer and the content presented, and its influence on the relationship between the East and the West.

The researchers also believe that an artistic approach is what new in the process of analysis. Moreover, the Warrior image itself is too great to be a mere tool to present American politics, as it is a complex artistic mix of devastated human relationships within a diverse artistic image. On the process of analysis, the researchers might be able to explain the Japanese fascination, also present in some Arab countries, with the American Warrior image, despite being the most afflicted by it.
Literature Review

In today's world, movies are one of the major past time of the people around the globe. In fact, for some movies are a substitute for television since both provide visual entertainment. In Morocco alone, there are 6 million moviegoers (Mena Report Newsletter, 2005). It just shows that many people are watching movies, may it be a foreign or a local film. And these movies have been part of the lives of any person in the globe. Some people cries when a certain scene in the film is depressive, laugh when the scene is humorous, and get angry when our favorite character have been harmed or mistreated. Implies that people who watch movies are affected by what they see. For some, they even acquire the personalities of a character in a film.

In an article released by the American Humanist Association (2001), the editor of the journal asked if violent Hollywood movies create a dangerous social atmosphere. As well, the editor pointed out if these movies divert the public from meaningful efforts at challenging the injustices of the status quo. Furthermore, if these movie mayhem really an updated expression of those long-standing cultural values that form a necessary basis for our developed sense of right and wrong. These questions arouse because of the issues that their country had when the movie the patriot was released.

As well, in article written by Hearne (2003), silent westerns and Indian dramas from 1908 to 1916 provide a remarkable window on Euro-American popular culture representations of the encounter between tribal peoples and the United States military and educational establishments.

Overview of the Methodology

The descriptive method of research will be utilized for this study. The researcher finds this the most appropriate approach as this study would mainly employ gathering and classifying data from the selected population of the study. This type of research also utilizes observations in the study. To illustrate the descriptive type of research, Creswell (1994) states that the descriptive method of research is to gather information about the present existing condition. The purpose of employing this method is to describe the nature of a situation, as it exists at the time of the study and to explore the causes of particular phenomena. The researcher opts to use this kind of research considering the desire of the researcher to obtain first hand data from the respondents so as to formulate rational and sound conclusions and recommendations for the study.

This study will employ qualitative research method because it intends to find and build theories that will explain the relationship of one variable with another variable through qualitative elements in research. Through this method, qualitative elements that do not have standard measures such as behavior, attitudes, opinions, and beliefs within organizations will be analyzed. Qualitative approaches to research are based on a "world view" which is holistic. Under these approaches, it is believed that there is not a single reality; reality is based upon perceptions that are different for each person and change over time; and what we know has meaning only within a given situation or context.

Furthermore qualitative research is multi-method in focus, involving an interpretative, naturalistic approach to its subject matter. This means that qualitative researchers study things in their natural settings, attempting to make sense of, or interpret phenomena in terms of the meanings people bring to them. Accordingly, qualitative researchers deploy a wide range of interconnected methods, hoping always to get a better fix on the subject matter at hand.

Data Gathering

To come up with pertinent findings and to provide credible recommendations, this study will utilize two sources of research: primary and secondary. The primary research data will be obtained through this new research study; questionnaire survey and in-depth interview will be conducted. On the other hand, the secondary research data will be obtained from previous studies on the same topic. For this research design, the researcher will gather data, collate published studies from different local and foreign universities and articles from books and journals; and will make a content analysis of the collected documentary and verbal material.

Afterwards, the researcher will summarize all the information, make a conclusion based on the hypotheses posited and provide insightful recommendations. Through this method, qualitative elements that do not have standard measures such as behavior, attitudes, opinions, and beliefs within the family domain will be analyzed.

Respondents of the Study

In this research paper, it is important to distinguish and determines the respondents of the study. In this manner, the researcher will have the respondents through a sample. Sample is known as a predetermined element of a statistical population that undergoes specific study. In conducting a research this population is called a set of respondents that has been selected from a greater number of populations for survey purposes. Population is defined as a set of categorized group that can be people, objects or any items from which the selection can be made to be used in statistical treatment such as a group of young individuals, manager and literary books. Herein, the researcher will used the sampling method which is defined as a strategic way of choosing the most appropriate sample or the most suitable part of the population for determination of the characteristics or restriction.

After selecting the appropriate population, the researcher will use inferential statistics in order to draw a concrete conclusion. Inferential statistics is used to be able to know a population’s attribution through a direct observation of the chosen population or simply the sample. This is because it is easier to observe a portion or a part than observe the whole population. However using a sample has also its own disadvantages; hence, there is a need to choose the most suitable sample from any population.

The researcher plans to take a sample from different respondents from different countries in the eastern part of the globe as thesis coping strategies. The questionnaire-survey will collect data on the respondents’ demographic profile first to check that the sample is appropriately stratified and representative and second to provide further information about the sample for analysis purposes.
Validity of the Data

Closed questions type will used for the survey. A closed question is one that has pre-coded answers. The simplest is the dichotomous question to which the respondent must answer yes or no. Hague (1993) classified three types of questions: behavioral, attitudinal and classification. Behavioral questions seek factual information on what the respondents do or own; attitudinal questions intend to know what respondents think of something; and classificatory questions seek information that can be used to group respondents to see how they differ one from another. For this study, the above mentioned three types of closed questions will be used to analyze the behaviors and attitudes of the respondents toward a successful project teams. Closed questions will be used because the answers are easy to analyze and are straightforward as target respondents are mostly busy that they do not have enough time to give attention to open questions. Closed response questions save the respondent having to think of possible replies. They also make the process easier for the interviewer who simply has to tick a box or circle a number. Moreover, they spare the coding staff difficult judgments which, if wrong, can skew the findings.

For validation purposes, the researcher will initially submit a sample of the set of questionnaires and after approval; the interview process will be conducted to the respondents. After the questions were answered, the researcher will ask the respondents for any suggestions or any necessary corrections to ensure further improvement and validity of the instrument. The researcher will again examine the content of the interview questions to find out the reliability of the instrument. The researchers will exclude irrelevant questions and will change words that would be deemed difficult by the respondents, too much simpler terms.

Scope and Delimitation

This study will be conducted to determine the political effects of warrior image in American cinema on Middle Eastern audience. In line with this, to gather the pertinent information, the research is limited in gathering information through an exclusive interview of a very small sample. For these reasons, this study cannot be generalized to populations that differ from those included in this study. Probably, a larger sample would increase validity of the study.

However, this research will be focusing on drawing a distinct line between the artistic approach in which these films have flourished, and their political motives through the process of observation and analysis. The researchers will try to adhere strictly to the analytic method while dealing with this phenomenon, which may have already had different influences on the Middle East audience. The researcher will also attempt to provide valid quotations, field studies, and reports in an objective manner, in order to reinforce the ideas explored, aiming to reach the most satisfying results.

Due to the time and budget constraints, this study will only be conducted in a relatively short period of time, thus may affect the results of the study.

 

Reference:

Baudrillard, J. (1981). Simulcra and Simulation. In M. Poster (Ed.) Jean Baudrillard: Selected Writings. (166-184), Oxford: Polity.

Baudillard, J. (1994). Simulcra and Simulation. University of Michigan.

Creswell, J.W. (1994) Research design. Qualitative and quantitative approaches. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage.

Mena Report Newsletter (2005). Moroccan cinemagoers decline. Mena Report available at www.menareport.com Acquired April 7, 2005.

 
 
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