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The European Union and Beyond

Teaching Middle East Politics with Movies and Documentaries: Exogenous and Endogenous Perspectives

Critical Theory
Higher Education
Beatriz Tomé Alonso
Universidad Loyola Andalucía & GRESAM (Universidad Castilla La Mancha)
Beatriz Tomé Alonso
Universidad Loyola Andalucía & GRESAM (Universidad Castilla La Mancha)
Lucia Ferreiro Prado
IE University

Teaching International Relations and Political Science using movies is increasingly popular. The use of this pedagogical tool has relevant advantages that I want to point out. First, movies and other visual materials can help students to move from a theoretical and narrative discussion to a more specific and empirical arena. As pointed out by Gregg (1999:129), movies constitute a “window on the world” that “engage our attention by dramatizing and personalizing ideas and events, build bridges to increasingly remote but still important times, and serve as catalysts for debate and further inquiry window on the world that should not be dismissed lightly”. In this way, a plurality of messages and political/international positions on a topic may emerge beyond the most widespread discourses. Also, movies and documentaries can be seen as cultura products themselves. As such, they “establish a discourse of identity politics as the frame of reference for world politics” and “highlight the relationship between knowledge and power” (Campbell, 2013). From this perspective, movies and documentaries can be de-constructed to unveil the power relations they establish. This research contributes to the debate on media and power narratives and presents an useful tool to use either in the classroom or by spectators themselves.
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