“Super Heroes” “Action Figures” and American Global Hegemony A Critical Analysis of New Trends in Hollywood Cinema

T. I. Wickramaarachchi


The paper attempts a reading of a representative sample of recent “super heroes”/ “action figures” in Hollywood to interpret implicit as well as explicit ideological andpolitical currents to establish American global hegemony. This will be a reworking ofEdward Said‟s notion of “orientalism” in relation to the cultural hegemony of the west.

There are two main objectives of the present study. At one level it investigateshow Hollywood cinema, as one of the most popular modes of entertainment withincreasing free accessibility for audiences across the globe, operates with ideologicaland political motives.In this manner, Hollywood plays a role in enhancing Americanimage and the promoting of its hegemony throughout the world and to a larger audienceat various regional and societal strata.

As its second objective, the study focuses on the present global socio-politicallandscape where America plays the role of an active agent, for example throughinterventions such as “global war on terror,” and the study examines how these sociopoliticalinterests of America surface in Hollywood

The primary methodology used in the study is discourse analysis of three majoraction figures/superheroes that recently appeared in Hollywood cinema.

Themajor finding of the study, that is, how Hollywood is not an “innocent formof entertainment” but an ideological institute,is expected to contribute to an increasedawareness of the functioning of popular entertainment modes as ideological agents ofparticular socio-cultural settings.

Key words: Hollywood, hegemony, American, Super heroes / action-figures


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