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A complicated post-documentary era

Volume 21, Issue 2

October, 2015

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King, B. (2015). Editorial: A complicated post-documentary era. 21(2), 6-9.
Author(s): Barry King
Publication date: 
October, 2015

SINCE early in the first decade of this century, the concept of documentary—never beyond contestation—has entered into a state of generic uncertainty. Reflecting on these developments, John Corner, in an influential article, dubbed the current context of production as ‘Post-documentary’ (Corner, 2002). In his view, the documentary tradition has always encompassed a range of approaches:
1. Documentary as social commentary seeking to inform audiences as citizens rather than consumers.
2. Documentary as Investigative Reporting, once the most extensive use of documentary methods on television.
3. Documentary as Radical Interrogation and Agit-Prop as found in the practices of independent cinema.
4. Documentary as popular ‘factual’ entertainment driven by ratings and box office.