ROME, Italy – Fr Jesudoss Perianayagam of the Communications Faculty made history in the Salesian Pontifical University (UPS) by being the first student to have doctoral defence where his reader from the United States joined the five member examination panel by internet video conferencing, 25 March. His 495 page doctoral thesis is entitled: The learning impact of Tamil cinema in the lives of street children: an empirical research and its relevance.
The panel of examiners included his guide Prof Fabio Pasqueletti, co-guide Professor (Sr.) Marie Gannon FMA, a former lecturer at the UPS who relocated to her home province (SUO) last year, UPS Registrar, second reader Prof Devadoss Sagayaraj and president Prof. Franco Lever, the dean of the Social Communications faculty. Over 60 students and professors were present for the defence held in the Faculty`s Aula Uno.
Comments from the examination panel
“It was a privilege for me to guide the doctoral thesis. It has enriched me while opening a new window for me,“ said prof. Pasqualetti commenting on the written work.
Sr Gannon praised the three instruments used for research, namely: survey, interview and the observation of street children in their natural surroundings.
“I am very delighted to see that you have dedicated your research to examine the work of our confreres in youth ministry. I am proud of your work,” said prof. Lever. Prof Devadoss instead played the devil`s advocate and put the candidate on the spot to clarify several issues which he handled deftly.
Long and Tedious Research
Fr. Jesudoss spent five months in field trips to collect data and interview in four major cities of Tamilnadu (Chennai, Salem, Coimbatore, and Tiruppur) collecting data sample from 451 street children, both boys and girls representing different socio-cultural, educational, economic and ethnical backgrounds.
Differing from the Frankfurt School and the culture industry theory of Adorno, the researcher adopted Facauldian understanding of cinema which helps the children to build their identity and facilitate the children to determine their life choices by themselves. The children are able to integrate the cinema contents to their everyday life positively. He has also highlighted the subaltern perspectives in the context of Tamil cinema which he reads as “today, the Tamil cinema as a popular culture has broken the hegemony and dominance of a minority group and has thrown open its portals for a more democratic participation of all.“
Ambitious Media Project for Street Children
“I have an ambitious media project through which I propose to involve street children from all over India, to be protagonists in learning, earning, producing and marketing media products,“ says Fr Jesudoss himself an accomplished musician, composer and lyrist. Over 50 of his religious song compositions are used in the Radio Vatican Tamil programme. He has also produced several audio cassettes of devotional songs both in Tamil and Malayalam.
Fr Jesusdoss (45) served as parish priest and youth ministry in the province of Chennai, and Thanjaur diocesan youth director as well as assistant director of Don Bosco Oratory at Sampierdarena in Genoa (Italy) for three years before he started his doctoral studies at Salesian University Rome in 2005. Originally belonging to the Liguria-Toscana province, currently he is member of the recently unified Rome province. END
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