This master‘s thesis examines sociological film interpretation. It focuses in particular on
the question of how film as an instrument of subversion can influence society and can reflect
socially generated fears. In order to apply the considerations of social fears, subversive
strategies and film-sociological theories two socially critical films will be analysed.
First of all fear is defined as a human phenomenon and a short summary on the most
important forms by Sigmund Freud is given. Furthermore, the terms “ideology” und
“ideological state apparatus” are examined using the social-psychological research approaches
by Louis Althusser and Sigmund Freud, with a focus on how they generate fear in culture and
society. Additionally, the features of “affirmative culture” are elaborated on based on the
research from Herbert Marcuse, Dieter Duhm und Erich Fromm. After the “ideological
structural analysis” there is a short summary of the current social situation in western industrialized
countries according to the social generated fears. These fears are divided into main
groups of economic institutions and mass media. Their description serves for a further analysis
of the development of fear within individuals.
The second chapter examines the meaning of “subversion” and its artistic strategies. After
giving a historical review of the four most important fields of meaning of “cultural
grammar” this phenomenon is explained in more detail. On this basis different forms of subversive
communication strategies are discussed. In this connection the term “taboo” is analysed with
regard to social, categorical und cinematic aspects. In addition, different research content according
to perceptual psychology and formally aesthetic features is used in order to develop approaches
for specific subversive strategies of design.
The third chapter presents different research approaches of current film sociology in preparation
for my film analysis. It will be discussed how a film can reflect conscious or unconscious
social conditions. The film-sociological study by Andrew Tudor provides a crucial basis of research
on how film expresses ideological values and social fears. The ability of film to influence
the collective memory in society is considered on the basis of the concept of cultural grammar.
The last chapter adopts the theoretical findings to two selected film examples. The main focus
is a close look at the society-critical film “Fight Club” by David Fincher and the analysis of our
documentary film “My identity is open”. Both films have a current connection to society and a
highly subversive potential and are thus thematically relevant for the theories presented in this