Monday, 13 February 2017

The Cone of Cogency

1 comment:

  1. Hey Becky...

    Okay - what we need here is some actual nuts and bolts and nitty-gritty - though your flower are very nice ;)

    I think you need to get more focus and more purpose into this structure, as right now it's still a bit noncommittal. You're absolutely right that the job of Chapter 1 is to expose/prove/demonstrate that there is something 'problematic' when it comes to the representation of female characters in fairy stories (and therefore in Disney's cultural product). The problem is two-fold, because historically fairy stories aren't just ordinary narratives, they are systems-for-teaching or expressions of preferred behaviour (or morality tales). This means fairy-stories have traditionally had a pedagogical role - arguably they teach people stuff about the world and how to live in and what to expect from it. This would be the first bit I'd want to prove to my reader, because it sets up the problem thus: if fairy-stories are teaching us how and what to think about ourselves and others, what is it that they're teaching us?

    The next thing I'd suggest is to start looking at fairy stories as something older than Disney - you need to look at their structures and their modes of representation and how many times those modes are repeated in different tales from different places. For example, it is common in fairy-stories for a woman's status (happy ending!) to be conferred on her by rescue and by marriage. How many fairy stories end up with a female character achieving her equilibrium and social acceptance via the man she marries? (Lots!). It seems to me Chapter 1 needs to prove that a) fairy stories are influential and b) fairy-stories are organised by ideas about gender that are repeated so frequently as to appear 'normal' or 'natural' or 'inevitable'. Once you've established this evidence for your reader, they are ready for Chapter 2, because Chapter 2 is about how feminist theorists (Butler etc) take on these normal, natural and inevitable modes of representation and show them to be ideological and 'constructed by men, for men' etc. So Chapter 2 makes a 'problem' out of the 'status quo' your chapter 1 first proved to exist. Arguably then, your Chapter 3 would look at a range of Disney films and perhaps use them to demonstrate how the roles afforded Disney Princesses have conformed and/or challenged those modes of representation as laid down by folklore traditions (and the gender inequalities so embodied). Does that make sense? And if so, you need, in terms of configuring reading lists for chapter 1 and engaging with the 'broadest territory' to go here and have a read (and then follow up by reading the texts mentioned etc).