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Book Beat: May 2002

Hollyworld: Space, Power, and Fantasy in the American Economy

Hollyworld: Space, Power, and Fantasy in the American Economyby Aida A. Hozic, Department of Political Science
(Cornell University Press, 2002)
Available through Amazon

For Aida A. Hozic, an interest in the film industry began early. Her father was an artist, and she studied theater directing at the University of Belgrade's Academy of Dramatic Arts. Before coming to the US, Hozic wrote theater and film reviews in Sarajevo and worked in various aspects of television, from serving as a production assistant to translating and writing subtitles for foreign movies.

"I grew up in the former Yugoslavia thinking about politics in terms of arts and culture," she says. Her book, Hollyworld: Space, Power, and Fantasy in the American Economy, is an expansion on her early thoughts.

Aida A. HozicA product of her dissertation, the book was six years in the making, including a year spent in Los Angeles interviewing people in the industry and researching archives at the Margaret Herrick Library at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

"Hollywood is an industry that is very often neglected in analysis of the American economy, and yet it is incredibly fast-growing and strategically important, particularly in terms of exports," she says.

The book suggests that Hollywood's organization affects our everyday life more than we know, notably with respect to censorship and moral surveillance.

When asked about the intended impact of her book, Hozic says, "I do hope it makes at least some people puzzle over the fact that we are nothing but a captive audience and/or extras in a big entertainment plot."

Hozic's current project, a book tentatively titled Making of the Unwanted Colonies, has grown directly out of Hollyworld. It will explore the relationship between media representation of ethnic violence and military intervention. "It looks at places that are being turned into undesirable quagmires, such as Bosnia, Kosovo and even Afghanistan, and how these places at the same time are being exploited by the media."

—Jenny Oberhaus

Photo:
Jane Dominguez

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