This thesis aims to remap film genre theory to make it newly relevant to the rapidly evolving reality of World Cinema. Genre theory is a field of research within film studies that remains strongly dependent of a colonial hierarchy that places Hollywood as the main referent over the rest of cinemas in the world, thus creating a relation of dominance through notions of periphery and centre. The writings of Rick Altman and Steve Neale in the early 2000s are revised and repurposed by this thesis, considering them as nuanced analyses of genre theory that work locally, that is, within the industrial context of Hollywood. In a world of cinemas, each mode of filmmaking has to be studied without creating relations of hierarchy, but rather considering them in regard to their specific contexts and, indeed, transnational relations. Therefore, Hollywood genre theory as has been studied by these authors cannot be claimed to be a general genre theory, which is in turned pursued by this research.
To achieve this objective, this thesis utilises post-2000 Westerns as its research context. However, following the title’s notion of “de-Westernising the Western”, my case studies are not circumscribed to the US Western, but rather constitute a wide array of worldwide iterations of the iconography, narratives, stylistic tropes and themes of the Western, including films from Europe, East- and South-Asia, South-Africa, South America, Australia and, indeed, the US. The significance of choosing the Western lies within its iconic and as yet uncontested status as the genre that uniquely reflects the idiosyncrasy of the USA, because if the Western can be de-Westernised through these World Cinema Westerns, then this operation is possible for any World Cinema genre. This thesis will thus provide a significant step forward in the fields of World Cinema and genre studies because it will attempt a theoretical redrawing of genre that has not been approached and reveal the possibilities of using global genres as tool for understanding between othering cultures.