Olwyn Ledwidge

How have institutions such as the state and the prison constructed a perception of criminality?


The thesis examines how social institutions such as the state and the prison have constructed a perception of criminality that has become dominant in visual culture, especially through the medium of photography and film. Foucauldian, Althusserian and Deluezian philosophy will be employed in order to aid this analysis. Initially, the thesis will examine early photography and the birth of the mugshot. Following this, it will elucidate the effects photography had on institutions and the eventual conception of a surveillance state and the documentation of its citizens. The thesis will conclude with the deconstruction of criminal stereotyping in mainstream cinema and through analysis of two crime films.