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Hollywood’s Passing Contexts

Hollywood’s Passing Contexts

The Rise of Psychoanalytic Discourse, Identity Studies, and Cold War Culture

(p.11) Chapter One Hollywood’s Passing Contexts
Projections of Passing
N. Megan Kelley
University Press of Mississippi

This chapter explores how concepts about identity changed after World War II by focusing on cultural contexts which affected the ways that Hollywood films were produced and consumed. In particular, it considers the rise of psychology, cultural anthropology, and the culture of the Cold War. It discusses the idea that identities were malleable and how it coexisted with discourses about authenticity and “identity crisis.” It also shows how Hollywood reflected and promoted atomic and Cold War fears, identity anxiety, and the rise of psychoanalytic discourse. The chapter suggests that all the divergent ideological strands and cultural beliefs that characterized the postwar period, including Cold War fears of an “enemy within” and the proliferation of identity studies, had influenced Hollywood representations of racial, gender, sexual, and political identities on-screen as well as audience interpretations of those representations.

Keywords:   identity, Hollywood films, psychology, cultural anthropology, culture, Cold War, authenticity, identity crisis, anxiety, identity studies

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