Idealized heroes of ‘retrotopia’: history, identity and the postmodern in Apollo 13

Llinares, Dario (2009) Idealized heroes of ‘retrotopia’: history, identity and the postmodern in Apollo 13. The Sociological Review, 57. pp. 164-177. ISSN 00380261

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Abstract / Summary

This article derives from research undertaken between 2004-2009 into the cultural construction of masculinity. Deploying an interdisciplinary approach to the analysis of gender the project derives from detailed textual and contextual analysis of one the most revered icons of the 20th century. The aim of the research explores how media processes work ideologically to iterate meaning, which, through postmodern process of intertextual dissemination, pass into what Roland Barthes would call mythological language. Focusing on Ron Howard's 1995 blockbuster Apollo 13, the article explores the nostalgic aesthetics of place and identity produced through a meticulously crafted construction of NASA in the 70s with the Astronaut as the central heroic figure. I argue that the film's attention to visual and historical verisimillitude seeks to imbue the text with a symbolic authenticity. This perpetuates a cultural perception in which the film is imbued become a Foucauldian ‘document’ structuring knowledge and memory. In this context idealised masculinity is idealised as transcendent formed through an ahisotrical nexus between modern/postmodern, past/present & traditional/progressive. Part of a collection of works edited by Professor Martin Barker (UEA) and Dr David Bell (University of Leeds) which ‘cover the way in which images of space travel have functioned within the radical imagination’ (2009: 4), this intervention amalgamates two distinctive areas – social construction of gender and the visual representation of space race – in an interrogation that extends the reach of cultural analysis.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number: 10.1111/j.1467-954X.2009.01823.x
ISBN: 9781405193320
ISSN: 00380261
Depositing User: Dario Llinares
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2013 14:20
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2017 16:03


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