In his paper "Children's Film as Social Practice," J. Zornado argues that the animated feature is a genre distinct in its own right, and, although overlooked by film criticism up to now, deserves rigorous, scholarly attention. Zornado employs the term "iconology" to develop a foundation for a critical methodology indebted to Althusser, Foucault, and Lacan as well as contemporary film criticism. Iconology of the animated feature film is the study of the meaning systems of the dominant culture and the ways in which such systems are inscribed into all kinds of social practice geared, specifically, to seduce and inform the mind of the child. Zornado analyses Pixar's Monsters, Inc. (2001), elaborating it as an example of an iconological reading of an animated feature and he argues that Monsters, Inc. encodes ideologies of hegemonic power relations and while at first seeming to criticize and to reveal the corrupting nature of hegemonic power relations; thus, the film's narrative works ultimately to confirm the status quo in which the child, like the Other, must learn to accept his/her objectified and exploited status as "natural" and "inevitable."
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Zornado, J. 2008. Children's film as social practice. CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture, 10(2). doi:10.7771/1481-4374.1354