The Primacy of Practice?

  • Desmond Bell


CRITICAL SOURCES FOR MAKING SENSE OF THE THEORY-PRACTICE DIVIDE IN FILM AND VISUAL STUDIES SynopsisIn this paper I explore the theory-practice nexus as it manifests itself within film and visual studies. Starting from an institutional history of the troubled relation between film theory and the teaching and conduct of imaging practice, I locate this disjuncture in a broader analysis of the social division between intellectual and manual labour within capitalist society. I discuss Aristotle's distinctions between theoria, praxis and techne and relate this to the contemporary divisions between the theoretical, critical and technical elements of teaching film. I argue that a discussion of the relationship between theory and practice within film and the visual arts is best approached by a serious consideration of the 'politics of theory'. The ProblemThe last twenty years has seen a massive growth in film, media and communication studies within further and higher...