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December 1994, Week 2


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Kaarlo Juhana Stedt <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 8 Dec 1994 15:45:53 +0200
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Hi there,
Arthur Lizie asked about a good definition of film genre. I think that I
have a good one. My definition is a corollary of Charles Sanders Peirce's
pragmatistic maxim that goes something like
        Consider what effects, which might conceivably have practical
        bearing, we conceive the object of our conception to have. Then
        our conception of those effects is the whole of our conception of
        the object.
It then follows that when we try to decide how to classify certain films
to certain categories - or genres - we must only look at the "practical
consequences" of a certain film. And then all the films that have similar
effects belong to the same category or genre. It's as simple as that. And
besides of the clarity of this idea we can get rid of all those obscure,
ridicilous, and theoretically unsound "tautological" definitions of genre.
I also think that my definition of genre has a very firm theoretical ground
that Lizie finds missing in the current babbling.
 I'm trying to put together an article about this subject and I'd
appreciate any comments and thoughts you may have.
Juhana Stedt, Univ of Turku [log in to unmask] or [log in to unmask]