Global and local identities: screening the body (politic) in the medical drama series

Swanepoel, Jan-Hendrik (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2012-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This dissertation investigates the medical drama series as a television phenomenon which foregrounds the body as central narrative device. By considering House M.D. and Jozi H as global and local manifestations of this genre, transnational, spatial and metafictional categorisations of the body are traced to reveal its nature as social spectacle, and meaningbearing corporeal text. The body and its concomitant identities are exposed as continually and continuously screened inside, outside and, moreover, in relation to the hospital. As an institutional space, the hospital is (re)positioned in national and transnational discourses as nexus for personal and public, individual and societal, as well as local and global truths about the body (politic). Michel Foucault’s understanding of the human body, its position as part of the larger body politic, and its control by the state is employed to foreground the bio-political classification of the (ab)normal body. Both the hospital, as space for healing, controlling and containing the body, as well as the body, as a corporeal and a psychic space itself, are signified as heterotopic spaces: part of, but also outside other places and bodies.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie verhandeling ondersoek die mediese dramareeks as televisie-fenomeen wat die liggaam as sentrale narratiewe middel aanwend. Deur House M.D. en Jozi H as globale en plaaslike uitbeeldings van hierdie genre in oënskou te neem, word transnasionale, ruimtelike en metafiksionele kategoriserings van die liggaam nagespoor om die aard daarvan as sosiale verskynsel en betekenisdraende liggaamlike teks te onthul. Die liggaam en sy verwante identiteite word aaneenlopend en aanhoudend beskou binne, buite en, verder, in verhouding tot die hospitaal. Die hospitaal as institisionele ruimte word (her)posisioneer in nasionale en transnasionale diskoerse as skakel tussen persoonlike en openbare, individuele en sosiale, asook plaaslike- en globale waarhede oor die (staats)liggaam. Michel Foucault se beskouing van die liggaam en die groter staatsliggaam, asook die staat se beheer daaroor beklemtoon die bio-politiese klassifisering van die (ab)normale liggaam. Sowel hospitaal, as helingsruimte, ruimte van beheer en inperkende ruimte, as die liggaam, as ’n materiële en ’n psigiese ruimte, word voorgestel as heterotopias: deel van, maar ook verwyder van, ander ruimtes, plekke en liggame.

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