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Mediating War and IdentityFigures of Transgression in 20th- and 21st-century War Representation$
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Lisa Purse and Ute Wölfel

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781474446266

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474446266.001.0001

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Figures of Transgression in Representations of the First World War on British Television

Figures of Transgression in Representations of the First World War on British Television

(p.54) Chapter 4 Figures of Transgression in Representations of the First World War on British Television
Mediating War and Identity

Emma Hanna

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter explores British televisual representations of transgression in the First World War from the 1960s to the centenary period (2014-18). It examines the ways in which the television medium has mediated public discourse about the historical and historiographical meanings of war and identity during and after the conflict of 1914-18 by focusing on the ways in which figures of transgression such as mutineers, conscientious objectors, and deserters have been used to subvert normative narratives of the Great War. The chapter considers how the deployment of historical transgression has enabled critical reflections of contemporary political and social discourses. It demonstrates how and why the intersection of the commemorative impulse in televisual representations of war encourages reflection on and negotiation of positions within and outside of more reassuring cultural narratives about the conflict, within institutional and governmental contexts for production and reception, and how they have shifted over time. This chapter concludes that such figures provide uncomfortable counter-narratives but that these are ultimately deployed to reinforce dominant ideas about the conflict.

Keywords:   Centenary, Commemoration, Conscientious Objector, Deserter, Great War, Identity, Mutineer, Representations, Transgression, British Television

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