Nature documentaries and the truth: popularising wildlife programming for the 21st century audience

Stockley, Samuel (2011) Nature documentaries and the truth: popularising wildlife programming for the 21st century audience. BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Since its origins in the early 20th century, the documentary genre’s claims of truth, objectivity and reality have been contested by audiences and critics alike. This paper argues that wildlife documentaries have a heightened responsibility when dealing with the truth as they question, comment upon and often create ideologies so apparently natural that they exist in environments where civilisation often does not.

    This paper traces the development of the nature documentary genre from its beginnings in the early 20th century through to computer generated attempts at documenting the lives of wild animals and environments in the 21st century. It uses film, television and narrative theories to deconstruct numerous wildlife documentaries and questions the negotiation between truth and entertainment by contextualising them socially, cultural and politically. The paper debates that wildlife documentaries offer only versions of reality and truism dialogs that are shaped by institutions, contexts and artistic agendas. The argument concludes by questioning the salience of nature documentaries in relation to changing opinions on climate change and ponders whether the anthropologic falsities unearthed in numerous wildlife programmes are related to anything other than intentional human intervention.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries > School of Media and Performing Arts
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2012 16:20
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:58

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