Year of Graduation
Studying the Past in Popular Culture: Methodological Issues (Reception of American movies of 1950-1980s by IMDb Users)
Faculty of History
The present paper aims to reveal the potential and possible challenges of applying the reception studies’ method to the analysis of popular culture (history fiction movies in particular) within a historical research by example of the reception of American historical movies (1950-80th) by IMDb users. The study is based on the methodological principles of cinema reception studies and historical culture approaches. The source of the empirical research is 257 IMDb users’ reviews dedicated to the movie “Spartacus” (1960, Stanley Kubrick) covering the period from December 26, 1998 until April 21, 2014.To attain the aims, Chapter 1 considers the questions dedicated to the theoretical basis of the research of the past’s reception in popular culture: conceptualizes “popular culture” within cultural studies' approach, retraces the causes, which gave rise to historians’ interest in popular culture, specifies the main areas and approaches to investigation of the past in popular culture within historical science.Chapter 2 discusses the problem of studying cinema in the field of new media. It analyses IMDb website: identifies a methodological approach to Internet source, describes IMDb as a database and Web 2.0 communication space. Subsequently the methodological basis of cinema studies is critically reviewed in the following aspects: the transformation of the reception studies in historical vista from literary criticism to cinema studies, key theoretical propositions, and topical approaches to the investigation of audience reception.Chapter 3 is dedicated to the empirical research. “Spartacus” (1960, Stanley Kubrick) movie is scrutinized as a reception object in sight of the production context, history genre specificity, various forms of its reception. The IMDb users’ reviews are investigated for tracing the movie reception strategies.It was concluded that applying to popular culture in the research could be seen efficient as far as the phenomenon of popular culture is conceptualized as a result of the reception process itself. The use of various forms of reception in historical science opens up the vast range of research possibilities in studying the problems of historical consciousness, imagination, reproduction of memories, construction of the ‘pasts’ based on the media historical knowledge, demarcating between the past and the present.