The Americans : domesticity and regendering of classical spy narratives

Source document: Brno studies in English. 2018, vol. 44, iss. 1, pp. 119-136
Extent
119-136
  • ISSN
    0524-6881 (print)
    1805-0867 (online)
Type: Article
Language
English
License: Not specified license
Abstract(s)
In this article an analysis is made of the first season of the television series The Americans from a cultural perspective which shows the relevance of the series within the context of the first decades of the 21st century. The series belongs to a specific genre that used to be masculine and mainly centered on the conflicts resulting from the confrontation between individual male loyalties and their identities conditioned by their belonging to a political order. By humanizing the usual villains in the spy genre, the series introduces a certain moral ambiguity and the idea that political ideologies lose their value in the face of individual motivations. This article explores the use of the conventions of the spy genre and how the model is adapted to allow for the treatment of present-day concerns related to the individual's struggle (now female as well) to reconcile public and private life.
Note
  • The author acknowledges financial support from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (FFI2015-63506-P), the Regional Government of Aragón and the European Social Fund (H03_17R).
Document
References:
[1] Bleton, Paul (2017) Machiavelli's angels hiding in plain sight: Media culture and French spy fiction of the Cold War. In: Jarausch, Konrad H, Christian F. Ostermann and Andreas Etges (eds.) The Cold War: Historiography, Memory and Representation. Berlin and Boston: Gruyter, 134–151.

[2] Booth, Alan R. (1991) The development of the espionage film. In: Wark, Wesley K. (ed.) Spy fiction, Spy films and real intelligence. London: Frank Cass ltd, 136–160.

[3] Brady, Miranda J. (2009) Family, nation and the female secret agent in Alias. In: Parker, Jeremy (ed.) Secret Agents. Popular Icon Beyond James Bond. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 111–32.

[4] Bratich, Jack Z. (2009) Spies like us: Secret agency and popular occulture. In: Parker, Jeremy (ed.) Secret Agents. Popular Icon Beyond James Bond. New York: Peter Lang Publishing,133-62.

[5] Classen, Cristoph (2011) The Cold War in the cinema: The boom in spy films in the 1960's, its causes and implications. The Celluloid Curtain, 9 Sept 2011. Available online at: http://www.bpb.de/gesellschaft/kultur/filmbildung/63199/the-cold-war-in-the-cinema. Accessed on 6 April 2017.

[6] Collins, Jim, Hilary Radner and Ava Preacher Collins (1993) Film Theory Goes to the Movies. New York: Routledge.

[7] D'Acci, Julie (1994) Defining Women: Television and the Case of Cagney and Lacey. Wisconsin: The University of North Carolina Press.

[8] Fagan, Colette et al (2012) The influence of working time arrangements on work-life integration or 'balance': A review of the international evidence. Conditions of Work and Employment Series. No 32, 14 August 2012. Geneva: International Labour Office. Available online at: http://www.ilo.org/travail/whatwedo/publications/WCMS_187306/lang--en/index.htm. Accessed 20 May 2015. Accessed on 15 May 2016.

[9] Faludi, Susan (2006) Backlash: The Undeclared War against American Women. The 15th Anniversary Edition. New York: Three Rivers Press.

[10] Goodman, Sam (2016) British Spy Fiction and the End of Empire. New York and London: Routledge.

[11] Hepburn, Allan (2005) Intrigue: Espionage and Culture. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

[12] Jarausch, Konrad H., Christian F. Ostermann and Andreas Etges (2017) Rethinking, representing and remembering the Cold War: Some cultural perspectives. In: Jarausch, Konrad H., Christian F. Ostermann and Andreas Etges (eds.) The Cold War: Historiography, Memory and Representation. Berlin and Boston: Gruyter, 1–18.

[13] Kackman, Michael (2005) Citizen Spy. Television, Espionage and Cold War Culture. Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press.

[14] Lakoff, George (2006) Thinking points: Communicating our American values and vision. Faculty Web Sites at the University of Virginia. Available at http://www.faculty.virginia.edu/haidtlab/lakoff.thinking-points.pdf. Accessed on 25 March 2015

[15] Lisanti, Tom and Louis Paul (2002) Films Fatales: Women in Espionage Films and Television, 1963-1973. Jefferson, North Carolina, and London: McFarland.

[16] Mandel, Ernest (1984) Delightful Murder: A Social History of the Crime Story. Bristol: Pluto Press Ltd.

[17] Nichols-Pethick, Jonathan (2012) TV Cops. The Contemporary American Television Drama. New York and London: Routledge.

[18] Stossel, Scott (1997) The sexual counterrevolution. The American Prospect July/August 1997. Available at http://prospect.org/article/sexual-counterrevolution. Accessed on 5 April 2017.

[19] Strinati, Dominic (2005) An Introduction to Theories of Popular Culture. London: Routledge.

[20] Thatcher, Margaret (1987) No such a thing as society. Margaret Thatcher Foundation. Available at http://www.margaretthatcher.org. Accessed on 4 April 2015.

[21] Walter, Natasha (2016) Why fiction needs more female spies. The Guardian 11 June 2016. Available at https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/jun/11/why-fiction-needs-more-female-spies. Accessed on 6 April 2017.

[22] Weichlein, Siegfried (2006) Representing and recording. In: Haynes, John Earl and Harvey Klehr (eds.) Citizen Spy: Television, Espionage, and Cold War Culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

[23] Weingarten, Benjamin (2014) The 11 principles of a Reagan conservative. The Blaze 3 March 2014. Available at http://www.theblaze.com/news/2014/03/03/the-11-principles-of-a-reagan-conservative/. Accessed on 10 April 2017.

[24] White, Rosie (2007) Violent Femmes. Women as Spies in Popular Culture, London and New York: Routledge.

[25] Alias (2001–2006): Created by J.J. Abrams, performance by Jenifer Garner, ABC.

[26] Cagney & Lacey (1981–1988) Produced by Barney Rosenzweig, performance by Sharon Gless and Tyne Daly.

[27] Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005) Directed by Doug Liman.

[28] Nikita (1990) Directed by Luc Besson.

[29] Nikita (2010–2013) Created by Craig Silverstein, performance by Maggie Q. CW.

[30] The Americans: Season 1 (2013) Created by Joe Weisberg, performance by Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys, 20th Century Fox.

[31] The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965): Directed by Martin Ritt.

[32] Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011): Directed by Tomas Alfredson.