Riformatori sociali e cavie umane. La rappresentazione della sociologia nel cinema muto americano - Rinaldo Vignati - Vita e Pensiero - Articolo Comunicazioni Sociali Vita e Pensiero

Riformatori sociali e cavie umane. La rappresentazione della sociologia nel cinema muto americano

digital Riformatori sociali e cavie umane.
La rappresentazione della sociologia nel cinema muto americano
Article
journal COMUNICAZIONI SOCIALI
issue COMUNICAZIONI SOCIALI - 2021 - 3. Theatres and Politics Today Lights and Shadows of a Long Relationship
title Riformatori sociali e cavie umane. La rappresentazione della sociologia nel cinema muto americano
Social Reformers and Human Guinea Pigs. The Representation of Sociology in American Silent Cinema
Author
Publisher Vita e Pensiero
format Article | Pdf
online since 02-2022
doi 10.26350/001200_000141
issn 0392-8667 (print) | 1827-7969 (digital)
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In American silent cinema there are often sociologists (or individuals who, as amateurs, are interested in sociology). The article is an analysis of a corpus of 26 silent films featuring sociologists. The source on which the research is  based are the synopses published in the film magazines of the time (in particular Moving Picture World). The presence of sociologists is concentrated in a particular way in the years between 1913 and 1919 (while in the following  years there is a sudden decline). In line with the prevailing image of American sociology of the period, in the films considered, sociologists are identified above all with social reformers and philanthropists, moved primarily by the goal of improving the lives of workers and the poor and the redemption of prisoners. However, there are also some simplistic representations of sociologists driven by mainly theoretical interests and intent on conducting ‘social  experiments’. In addition to providing useful elements to understand the perception that surrounded American sociology in the early decades of the twentieth century, the article sheds light on a group of little-known but symptomatic films.

keywords

Silent movies; American cinema; sociology; social reform; progressive era

Author biography

Università di Bologna ‒ rinaldo.vignati@gmail.com

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Anno: 2021 - n. 3

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