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Watching the World$
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Thomas Austin

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780719076893

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719076893.001.0001

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Conclusion: documentary world views

Conclusion: documentary world views

(p.178) 7 Conclusion: documentary world views
Watching the World

Thomas Austin

Manchester University Press

This chapter assembles some strands of discussion by considering the social and political potential of documentaries to inform and galvanise audiences, to prompt new engagements with the world via the ‘world views’ that are screened for them. Any attempt to explore the orientations towards the world proposed via documentary must attend not only to its capacity to invite and stimulate audiences' engagement with, understandings of, and respect for, the people on screen, but also to the ways in which it can mobilise practices of distinction, disgust and the denial of any possible points of connection. Watching documentary ‘world views’ results in an affirmation of initial orientations or assumptions, simplistic or reliant on stereotypes though they may be. But sometimes it contributes towards a shift in senses, both cognitive and emotional, of the world ‘out there’, and associated attitudes towards it. Viewing may even, on some occasions precipitate a revision of understandings of self, of others and of the relations between the two.

Keywords:   world views, social potential, documentaries, political potential, cognitive senses, emotional senses

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