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dc.contributor.advisorRock, Jenny
dc.contributor.authorWilliams, Julia Elizabeth
dc.identifier.citationWilliams, J. E. (2013). Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing: Dangerous Depictions of Animals in Children’s Films and Literature (Thesis, Master of Science Communication). University of Otago. Retrieved from
dc.description.abstractThis thesis examines the representation of animals in popular children’s books and films. Certain animal taxa have been historically stereotyped in fiction, through their repeated portrayal in archetypal character roles. It is hypothesized that the depictions of animals in narratives promote the formation, and retention, of misconceptions about certain taxa, which can engender consequences for both children and the animals. An analysis of 83 popular children’s animal books and films was undertaken to identify if certain animal taxa have been stereotypically cast in specific archetypes (e.g. villain, hero, companion). Results suggest multiple biases, notably that the role of the villain tends to have higher instances of animal typecasting, with wolves emerging as the most frequently occurring villains. The effect of repeated exposure to negatively depicted animals, such as wolves, is explored with respect to aspects of child development and animal conservation. The role of fiction in the stereotyping of animals provided the inspiration for a creative non-fiction book entitled The Fairy Tale Experiment, where themes from traditional fairy tales and other narratives are explored in a 21st century scientific context, with the purpose of communicating science to a young-adult audience. Along with an assortment of historical and scientific phenomena, the book includes zoologically accurate critiques of several classically misrepresented animals, with the hopes of counteracting some damaging stereotypes of these animals.
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
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dc.titleWolf in Sheep’s Clothing: Dangerous Depictions of Animals in Children’s Films and Literature
dc.language.rfc3066en Centre for Science Communication of Science Communication of Otago
otago.openaccessAbstract Only
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