The Changing Nature of Modernization Discourses in Documentary Films

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Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2018. Argument Franco's fascist regime in Spain (1939-1975) offers the possibility of exploring the complex relationship between media communication practices and the processes of production, circulation, and management of knowledge. The regime persistently used film, and later on television, as indoctrination and disciplining devices. These media thus served to shape the regime's representation, which largely relied on the generation of positive attitudes of adherence to the rulers through people's submission and obedience to experts. This article examines the changing nature of modernization discourses and practices, as a fundamental element of the regime's propaganda strategies, and as portrayed in documentaries produced under its rule. The rhetoric of modernization involved an explicit deficit model of knowledge management, which aimed at legitimating the regime's deeds and policies in its first decades, as we shall see regarding colonial-medical documentaries produced for the official newsreel in the 1940s. However, the focus of such rhetoric, despite its enduring political aims, had to somehow open up as the relationship between experts and non-experts changed, both in epistemological and practical terms, such as in wildlife documentary films produced for television in the 1970s, the regime's last decade.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-83
JournalScience in Context
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


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