Research on cultural and social aspects of cinema is commonly underpinned by a "modernity thesis" modeled on life in the European metropolis. Thus, film history is viewed through a biased lens with focus on urban centers - when in actual fact most of the people that are comprised in these histories lived in small towns and rural areas. Cinema flourished also in small town and rural settings yet there is very little knowledge on the subject. This project challenges the idea of cinema culture as an exclusively urban form of international and standardized mass culture and aims at correcting this misconception by paying attention to marginalized cinema cultures.
With focus on exhibition, the objective of the project is to map and explain the social relational determinants that are involved in the cinema audience's social experience in Sweden in historical, comparative perspective.
The project has a `new cinema history´ ambition of pushing film studies into the realm of media studies, shifting the focus from film text to cinema audience and socio-cultural context and in so doing, of adopting methods from the discipline of history, cultural geography and historical film reception research. With focus on exhibition and in a comparative triangular study of Swedish city, town and small community settings, I aim at exploring cultural geopolitics through theories of globalization and modernity to explain how the experience of cinema going in its heyday (1920s to 1959) was molded by social, cultural, economic and political forces.