Exploitation as entertainment: the treatment of subjects in Louis Theroux

Muncer, Bethany (2016) Exploitation as entertainment: the treatment of subjects in Louis Theroux. BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    The topic of exploitation in documentary remains an underexplored area of film scholarship. Whilst important dialogues exist concerning the potential moral issues that prevail in contemporary documentary modes, little has been done to appropriately investigate the role of the filmmaker within exchanges between spectator, filmmaker and subject. As is clear, the documentary genre is becoming increasingly visible on all forms of screen today, and thus real evaluation into its ethical practices become even more poignant. This study will therefore call attention to the methods in which a filmmaker can take advantage of their subject, predominantly exploring issues surrounding consent, excess and the filmmaker’s obligation to protect the subjects represented on screen. Simultaneously, the thesis will look to undertake a detailed textual assessment of two case studies, Louis Theroux’s Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends: UFO’s and By Reason of Insanity. The analysis of these two case studies will provide primary evidence within a mostly theoretical field of research, and will help further illuminate this under explored area. Theroux’s work offers much in the way of documentary ethics, and he has often been accused of exploitation within his films. As a prominent figure in the documentary world, his films are watched by many across a huge variety of media platforms today, allowing this dissertation to conclude that exploitation of subjects is incredibly widespread across both his work, and the participatory mode of documentary in general.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries > School of Media and Performing Arts
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2016 15:53
    Last Modified: 11 Nov 2016 15:53
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/22672

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