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(2022) Ayshan, HanThesisVideo game trailers are an effective promotional form of intermediation that enables audiences to navigate and engage with old and new media. Although video game trailers function as advertisements designed to sell a game, they are also stories that provoke social media commentary and debate. Trailers aim to draw the viewer in, convey sound and imagery, and evoke an involuntary reaction of excitement and awe. In this thesis, I will be using the games Fallout 4, Watch Dogs 2, and Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate. In the case studies, I investigate how viewers make sense of the promotional and storytelling aspects of video game trailers. I examine how video game trailers have the potential to arouse emotions and interest before viewers even play the game. Trailers provide an insight into the basic gameplay, not only into the gameplay but also into the story and the characters (protagonists and antagonists). They show audiences the video game theme genre and provide the viewer with a visual and auditory tool to entice possession. This project explores these themes, showing how video game trailers have an inherited cinematic quality but also how trailers actually spend little time presenting actual gameplay. There is a clear connection with movie trailers, teasing the events that will take place in the game and asking the player what will happen next. In this study, I used the methods of narrative analysis and textual analysis to analyse comments from YouTube, Facebook, and a survey of video gamers. The textual analysis of the trailers raises questions of representation and authenticity. In this research, I identified an incongruity between the representation of the core features of a game and the promotion of those features in the trailer. The narrative analysis of the trailers focused on storytelling and emplotment in the trailers. A key theme that has emerged from the analysis is that superheroes engage in vigilantism, a justifiable form of self-administered violence. Gamers may feel at ease with the violence used to correct perceived injustices. There is potential for gamers to consider the moral grey area of vigilante violence and romanticised vigilantism. With their enhanced ability to simulate complex interactive narratives for actual and simulated authenticity, video games offer a sophisticated engagement with players that contributes significantly to their widespread and universal support. The role of culturally created characters in the experience of playing a video game helps stimulate philosophical research. I explore whether normative audience expectations can speed up the development of cultural expectations about the relationship between the player and the narrative of the game and its audience. In this context, I examine case study video game trailers and ask what it means to revise our understanding of the relationship between power, law, and morality while playing the game. I examine and critique how the narrative, and thus the mechanics of a specific game, shapes our understanding of connection, power, law, or morality; I contend that prestige reflects normative privilege and law.
(2022) Schwirtlich, Anne-MarieThesisFollowing the 1857-1858 Mutiny and its expression of Indian hostility to British rule, the British response included the formal transition of power, in 1858, from the British East India Company to the Crown. A significant increase in the size of the British population - driven by an increase in the number of British soldiers stationed in India - accompanied this shift in governance. The Mutiny, for the first time, required British authorities and the British public to deal with a significant number of British widows. These women were a stark visual reminder of personal and national vulnerability and of Britain's military failure. The subsequent four decades saw the consolidation of, and the growth in opposition to, British authority in India, and the fashioning of Britain's imperial narrative. Articulations of the purpose of British rule of India focused on Britain's advanced status, its strength (economically, legally, politically, educationally, and morally), and on the benefits India, in turn, would derive from British rule. The success of the narrative required the British in India to exemplify this purpose, status, and strength. This thesis argues that British women widowed in India between 1860 and 1900 were emblematic of the vulnerability, failure, and cost of Britain's presence in India. The fact of their widowhood and their behaviour while in India could tarnish, if not threaten, Britain's narrative of superiority by their critique of British rule, and by their indigence, lack of industry or immorality. An analysis is made of the cultural expectations of widows and the manner in which fiction, advice manuals, consolatory literature and policy marked the boundaries of acceptable behaviour and set the parameters to 'manage' widows. This is complemented by close research of the experiences of a cohort of 260 British women widowed in India between 1860 and 1900. The exploration of the interplay between societal expectations and the ways in which widows accepted, accommodated, adapted, or exploited these expectations illuminates our understanding of gender in British imperialism. This study concludes that while a few widows openly challenged societal expectations and conventions, or simply operated outside them feeling little obligation to model imperial behaviour, most widows found elements of the conventions sufficiently useful and elastic to forge lives of purpose and meaning.
Colombian Women's Stories of Empowerment and (In)Security in Conflict: A Decolonial Feminist Approach(2023) Boer-Cueva, AlbaThesisThe concepts of empowerment and (in)security have increasingly received theoretical and programmatic attention across international studies and policy frameworks in development, peacebuilding, and post-conflict reconstruction. Their integration, however, particularly into mainstream peacebuilding discourse and practice, is leading to growing tensions that result from the assumption of a positive relationship between the achievement of women’s empowerment and security – both on a personal level for women and in general for society, through, for example, the maintenance of peace. While lacking consensus, these concepts continue to be embedded within apparently neutral documents, including peace agreements, which assume their meaning is stable and uncontested. Situating myself in feminist peace research and adopting a decolonial feminist approach, I trouble the assumed positive nature of the relationship between women’s empowerment and security, and contribute to theoretical deliberations by highlighting other locations and sources of expertise. I do this by drawing on four supporting concepts: spatio-temporality, intersectionality, identity, and knowability. Specifically, I engage with women’s stories about peace and conflict, and particularly their experiences and conceptualisations of empowerment and (in)security through a case study of Colombia’s contemporary conflict and the peacebuilding process with FARC-EP. Drawing on 43 interviews, I offer a theorisation of women’s empowerment in relation to (in)security as a co-constituted, intersectional, embodied, and spatio-temporal process. I argue that women’s intersecting identities are located and produced in structural relations of power that determine not only how they are known, but how and why they conceptualise their empowerment and (in)security in different ways. I further argue that women in peacebuilding contexts are constituted in and through different spatio-temporalities of violence, in ways that do not map onto hegemonic binaries of urban/rural or conflict/post-conflict. My analysis encourages a critical examination of the instrumentalisation of women and gender in peacebuilding processes, and the need to engage with women’s meaning-making and strategic activism by foregrounding their multiple ways of knowing otherwise in conflict and peacebuilding. Ultimately, this research and its decolonial feminist approach to knowledge cultivation in the academy draws its significance from its call to action, to bring about more meaningful, transdisciplinary, co-created analyses of peace, violence, and conflict.