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‘It’s a sad and beautiful world’: the Poststructuralist conception of communication and Jim Jarmusch’s films

Kazakeviciute, Evelina 2020. ‘It’s a sad and beautiful world’: the Poststructuralist conception of communication and Jim Jarmusch’s films. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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The thesis describes the main elements of communication from a poststructuralist vantage point and explores the implications for the theories of interpersonal, interlingual and intercultural as well as mediated communication. It also examines the theme of otherness and communication with a stranger in the poststructuralist literature. The research extends the prior work on the relationship between communication theory and poststructuralism. I argue that poststructuralists’ contribution to communication theory has been underappreciated by some scholars in the field due to either ascription of the poststructuralist authors to different communication traditions or due to misinterpretations of their works. Showing that Jacques Derrida’s works are at the heart of poststructuralism, I dispel the main misinterpretations of deconstruction, including the misjudgement of the Derridean take on objectivity, intentionality, and meaning, to name a few. I reconstruct his and Roland Barthes’ as well as Julia Kristeva’s insights on communication applying Harold Lasswell’s construct, demonstrating the underlying similarities in their ideas, and re-evaluate the poststructuralist theory of communication using five criteria appropriate for interpretative cultural theories. The results show that the theory meets all the standards of a ‘good’ theory, except the community of agreement – owing to the misinterpretations of poststructuralism that this thesis dispels. Drawing on poststructuralist ideas, I explore communication in Jarmusch’s films as well as encounters with and responses to otherness within them. The thesis looks at the main elements of communication in Jarmusch’s films from the poststructuralist perspective and especially focuses on how’s and when’s of ‘successful’ and ‘unsuccessful’ communication between the characters. The analysis leads to the conclusion, stemming from both poststructuralists’ works and Jarmusch’s films, that communication carries the trace of otherness, i.e., miscommunication, in itself and that structurally every interaction with the other is a subject to ‘failure’. Therefore, miscommunication should not be treated as a negative outcome of the process of communication. Furthermore, it should not be seen as a problem that has to be solved but rather as a paradox that needs to be managed. Perhaps, the thesis suggest, the aspiration of successful communication is related to the mentality that the dominant neo-liberal ideology ‘naturalises’ and enforces on us. This assumption might be addressed in future studies. iii

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 22 February 2021
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2021 01:40

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