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Cinema, entrepreneurship and society in the South Wales valleys, 1900 to the 1970s

Evans, Angela Dawn 2016. Cinema, entrepreneurship and society in the South Wales valleys, 1900 to the 1970s. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This thesis explores the role played by small-scale cinema entrepreneurs in the south Wales valleys in establishing cinema as the predominant cultural medium of the twentieth century. The focus and methodology draw heavily on the �new cinema history� that emerged in the early 2000s and champions a reorientation of cinema history away from a concentration on films as cultural products towards a more sociological approach that views cinema as a social institution located within specific community settings. The continuing dominance of small-scale cinema ownership in the south Wales valleys (in most areas of the UK, the major cinema chains, such as Odeon and ABC, came to control the market) meant that cinema proprietors were often prominent local figures. Not only did they exercise a considerable amount of influence on the audience experience, they were also active players in their local communities, cultivating relationships with civic leaders, contributing to a range of local good causes and promoting the community benefits of cinema. Given the controversial nature of cinema, they became adept �cultural brokers,� negotiating with regulatory authorities, appeasing oppositional groups whilst keeping a weather eye on fluctuating popular tastes. The divisive nature of cinema makes it an ideal lens through which to examine the dynamics of civil, social and commercial life of south Wales towns as they transitioned from conditions of economic boom to post industrial bust. The focus of this study is Bargoed in the Rhymney Valley, which was home to the Withers, one of the most important, and yet little known, cinema-owning families in south Wales. By holding the magnifying glass up to a single town and business the aim is to move beyond generalizations and examine closely how various social, economic and cultural forces interplayed at the local level.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D204 Modern History
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 16 February 2017
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2020 03:12

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