Footloose and the Positive Affects of Culture Shock

Included in this post is the link to my research paper and my digital presentation about narrative communication ethics and the positive affects of culture, as evidenced in the film, Footloose (1984).


Research Paper: Footloose and the Positive Affects of Culture Shock


5 thoughts on “Footloose and the Positive Affects of Culture Shock

  1. Kristin, I always find your projects to be so creative and engaging. I loved the use of the record as the template to portray Footloose; it was the perfect fit. I have seen the movie once before, but your presentation opened my eyes to see it in a different light. Originally, I had demonized Reverend Shaw Moore because of his dancing ban, but your ethical take on the matter made me realize that he is not inherently evil or trying to keep fun out of the town. Both he and Ren simply prioritize different goods because of their different experiences. Reverend Shaw still has the accident clear in his mind, and attributes dancing as the cause of the deaths. The two find common ground in their love for Ariel and are able to have a dialogue about the future of the pastime. What can Footloose teach us about how culture shock can be negotiated in real life settings? I would have loved to hear more of your implications, but I think the presentation cut off.

  2. Hi Sarah, Thank you for the comment. I agree with your assessment. I also thought Reverend Moore was the “bad guy” because he was against dancing. (I mean, who does not like to dance?) But, yes, his personal experiences are what guided him towards the thinking that dancing was bad. In regards to real life settings, I believe that narrative communication ethics theory and culture shock can provide us with different perspectives in how we view and judge each other. It is so important to remember that not everyone has had the same experiences, or grew up with the same traditions or cultural standards. Often times, if we are able to step back from a situation (like culture shock) and try to see where the other person is coming from, it can change our emotions and our take on the situation. The most important aspect that I take away from Footloose is that everyone’s perspective is important.
    Also, I’m not sure what happened at the end. It does the same thing every time I record it (after 5 takes, I gave up). It seems like the conclusion section tries to start over again. But, I assure you, the clip of Reverend Moore was the end of the presentation.

  3. Kristin, great project! Footloose is one of my favorite fun movies, so I was really looking forward to your work having gotten a preview with your vlog.
    Taking a narrative approach with culture shock served your purpose well. Truly highlighting Rev. Moore’s and Ren’s individual narratives adds understanding to the film, helping to see Rev. Moore not as a villain or antagonist, but another human being experiencing struggle in his own way. Turning a culture shock lens on the film was interesting. Obviously routine and familiarity are important to the people in the town of Bomont, and Ren as rhetorical interruption was exhausting for some of the townsfolk. And Ren was surely exhausted by the difference from Chicago. The film and your project provide a great example of learning from difference.

  4. Yup, I agree Sarah. In fact, I have never seen this film, but Kristin’s analysis describes such a moving story that I am going to find it and watch it now (well, May 5). Your choice served you as an excellent vehicle for your analysis, and your analysis is insightful and satisfying. Nice job!

  5. I saw this in the theaters my senior year of high school with my best friends, and as we pulled into the driveway returning from the movie, the song “Footloose” came on the radio and we jumped out of the car and started dancing with the car doors flung wide open. So, I’ve got a special place in my heart for this film.

    This is a great choice of text to illustrate the concept of culture shock, and I really like your choice of template for the presentation. You’ve done a great job of identifying the competing narratives and the competing goods, and the resolution of the story is an interesting illustration of the dialogic ethic of listening, attentiveness, and negotiation (Arnett et al., 2009). Each stands his own ground without compromising his basic position. They move from “knowledge to learning” (p. 151) and the unexpected emerges.

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