1st Edition

Film as a Radical Pedagogic Tool

By Deirdre O'Neill Copyright 2018
    180 Pages
    by Routledge

    180 Pages
    by Routledge

    Emerging from Inside Film, a project that helps prisoners and people on probation make their own films, this book discusses the need for working class people to represent themselves and challenge mainstream stereotypes and assumptions about them. This project gave prisoners and parolees the technical skills necessary to make their own films and tell their own stories in order to counter the ways they have been misrepresented. The author demonstrates that film and television are key means by which socioeconomically marginalized groups are classified according to hegemonic norms, as well as the ways such groups can undermine these misrepresentations through their use of the media. As a theoretical reflection on the Inside Film project and the relationship between filmmaking and education, this book explores what radical pedagogy looks like in action.

    Chapter 1: Introduction

    Chapter 2: Radical Pedagogy, Prison and Film

    Chapter 3: Working Class Subjectivity and Representation

    Chapter 4: Broadening the Referential Framework: Prison as an Event

    Chapter 5: Hegemony and the Culture of the Working Class

    Chapter 6: Radical Cinematic Practices

    Chapter 7: The Foodbank Film Conclusion


    Deirdre O’Neill is a filmmaker and independent scholar.

    Deirdre O’Neill’s book adopts a Marxist approach to research based on a series of practice-led filmmaking workshops in UK prisons run by O’Neill called Inside Film. O’Neill outlines her interest in ‘collective filmmaking practice’ (1) and attempt to answer ‘questions of subjectivity and representation as they relate to the issue of (working) class in theory and practice’ (1). This theory practice nexus is an important aspect for O’Neill as she introduces students to radical film theory but uses a working-class perspective garnered from her own working-class background and experience.

    The book is structured around seven chapters, which present theoretical aspects of filmmaking with examples from O’Neill’s practice and the workshops. She argues that film can be a form of ‘critical pedagogy’ (5) and the films she introduces to workshop participants and the filmmaking practice they learn equips them with tools to counter bad representations of working-class people and to articulate a working-class politics.

    Marxist writers such as Gramsci are utilised in making the argument which includes criticism of capitalist structures, neoliberalism, and the ways in which the media and educational institutions operate to reinforce and reproduce the class system. Ultimately, O’Neill aims to develop ‘a theoretical and practical, politically committed radical pedagogy of film in the service of the working classes’ (29) and she lists seven ways that film can operate as a radical pedagogical tool. The list includes a call for film and its context of production to be analysed dialectically ‘through the lens of the wider social and political spectrum of capitalist relations particularly as they relate to class’ (33).

    While generally quite theory heavy, the book does also contain some descriptions of the films made by students taking part in the Inside Film program, and demonstrates that the students have been influenced by film concepts and movements such as T