Genre As Social Force: Hollywood Cop Action from the Perspective of Filmmakers

Monday, July 14, 2014: 4:00 PM
Room: Booth 57
Oral Presentation
Neal KING , Sociology, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
Recent analysis of genre as social construction shows that critics and scholars tend to categorize works of art differently than producers do. The biggest marketers in Hollywood cannot copyright genres and so avoid treating their own product as generic. They sell their films instead as unique combinations of diverse elements, in order to appeal to many audiences and differentiate product. Interviews with contributors to the Hollywood cop action movies discuss the conditions under which they come to work on the projects, the extent to which they see themselves as genre filmmakers, and how they differentiate their own work. This research shows that filmmakers answer to their own demands and priorities, distinct from those of critics, audiences, scholars, and distributors. By showing how such diverse categorizations of film converge and diverge, it demonstrate how a genre of human expression is contingent on social affairs, porous in boundaries, prone to change, often subject to reasonable disagreement, and yet still a compelling force within an industry that remains ambivalent about producing generic work.