Television studies

Television studies

Television studies is an academic discipline that deals with critical approaches to television. Usually, it is distinguished from mass-communication research, which tends to approach the topic from an empirical perspective. Defining the field is problematic; some institutions and syllabuses do not distinguish it from media studies or classify it as a subfield of popular culture studies.

Television studies is roughly equivalent to the longer-standing discipline of film studies in that it is often concerned with textual analysis. For example, analyses of so-called "quality television," such as "Cathy Come Home" and "Twin Peaks", have attracted the interests of researchers for their cinematic qualities. However, television studies can also incorporate the study of television viewing and how audiences make meaning from texts, which is commonly known as audience studies or reception theory.


Charlotte Brunsdon argues that television studies is an "aspirationally disciplinary name given to the academic study of television." Since it is a relatively new discipline, Brunsdon notes that "...many of the key television scholars are employed in departments of sociology, politics, communication arts, speech, theatre, media and film studies." She argues that television studies developed during the 1970s and 1980s "...from three major bodies of commentary on television: journalism, literary/dramatic criticism and the social sciences." Critical methods for television have been "...extrapolated from traditional literary and dramatic criticism." [ [ Television Studies ] ]

As a result, television studies is marked by a great deal of "disciplinary hybridity." Perhaps because television scholars are approaching the subject from so many different disciplinary and theoretical perspectives, there are many debates about how television should be understood and conceptualized from a political and methodological point of view. Another impact of the disciplinary hybridity is the diversity in the types of studies carried out. Early television studies included histories of television, biographies of television producers, archival research by historians, and sociologicalstudies of the role the television set played in 1950s homes.

In television studies, television and other mass media forms are "...conceptualised within frameworks" such as "...ownership; national and international regulation of media production and distribution; professional ideologies; public opinion; [and] media audiences." As the field of television studies was being developed, it was influenced by the medium's longstanding issue of invoking "distrust, fear and contempt", as a purported cause of social ills. As well, television scholars had to prove that television was different from other "mass media", often by pointing to how television differed from radio and cinema.

In the 1970s and 1980s, television studied developed three strands of commentary: a journalistic approach which reviews recent television programs; a literary/dramatic criticism approach which examines the television screenwriter in the same way that literary and dramatic criticism examine novels and plays; and the social sciences, which examined the "production, circulation and function of television in contemporary society."

The social science stream examined the social function and effects of television and analyzed the role that television plays in the social order and the public sphere. Some television scholars applied Marxist frameworks or the "critical sociology of the Frankfurt School". Since the 1970s, feminist television scholars have focused "... on programmes for women and those which have key female protagonists", such as Julie D'Acci's study of the police drama "Cagney and Lacey" and the " substantial literature on soap opera." Television studies in the l990s includes "work on the definition and interpretation of the television text and the new media ethnographies of viewing" and histories of "production studies" - how television shows are developed, financed, and produced. [ [ Television Studies ] ]

Television scholars

Scholars who principally work in television studies include:

*Robert C. Allen
*Ien Ang
*Charlotte Brunsdon
*Jane Feuer
*John Fiske
*Christine Geraghty
*John Hartley
*Henry Jenkins
*David Lusted
*Toby Miller
*Jason Mittell
*David Morley
*Horace Newcomb
*Neil Postman
*Lynn Spigel
*Raymond Williams

List of television-studies journals

The following journals are either devoted to television studies or, at the least, frequently include TV-studies essays.

English language

*"Camera Obscura" — feminist media theory.
*"Cinema Journal" — published by the Society for Cinema and Media Studies.
*"" - peer-reviewed journal devoted to a study of television.
*"Flow" — an online journal of television and media studies published biweekly by the Department of Radio-TV-Film at the University of Texas at Austin.
*"Journal of Film and Video" — published by the University Film and Video Association.
* [ JUMP CUT] — review of contemporary media.
*"Screen" — influential film and TV journal of the 1970s and 1980s.
*"Television and New Media" - one of the few television-specific journals.
*"The Velvet Light Trap" - long-running film and media journal.

Further reading

*Allen, Robert C. and Annette Hill, eds., "The Television Studies Reader" (New York: Routledge, 2004)
*Bignell, Jonathan. "An Introduction to Television Studies" (New York: Routledge, 2004)
*Boddy, William. "Fifties Television: The Industry And Its Critics." Urbana: The University of Illinois Press, 1990.
*Brandt, George. British Television Drama. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981.
*Casey, Bernadette; Neil Casey, Ben Calvert, Liam French, Justin Lewis, "Television Studies: The Key Concepts" (New York: Routlege, 2002)
*Corner, John. "Critical Ideas in Television Studies" (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1999)
*Feuer, Jane, Paul Kerr, and Tise Vahimagi. "MTM: "Quality Television." London: British Film Institute, 1984.
*Fiske, John. "Television Culture". London: Methuen, 1987.
*Fiske, John and John Hartley. "Reading Television". London: Methuen, 1978.
*Geraghty, Christine and David Lusted, eds., "The Television Studies Book" (New York: Arnold, 1998)
*Goldie, Grace Wyndham." Facing The Nation: Television And Politics, 1936-1976." London: The Bodley Head, 1978.
*Hall, Stuart. "Early Writings On Television." London: Routledge, 1997.
*Halloran, James. "The Effects Of Television." London: Panther, 1970.
*Kaplan, E. Ann. "Regarding Television." Los Angeles: American Film Institute, 1983.
*Miller, Toby ed., "Television Studies" (London: BFI, 2002).
*Morley, David. "Television, Audiences And Cultural Power." London: Routledge, 1992.
*Newcomb, Horace. "TV: The Most Popular Art." New York: Doubleday, 1974.
*Newcomb, Horace, and Paul Hirsch. "Television as a Cultural Forum: Implications for Research." In Newcomb, Horace, editor. "Television: The Critical View." New York: Oxford, 1994.
*Williams, Raymond. "Television, Technology And Cultural Form." London: Fontana, 1974.


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Television in Germany — began in Berlin on March 22, 1935, broadcasting for 90 minutes three times a week. The German television market had approximately 36.5 million television households in 2000, making it the largest television market in Europe.[1] All important… …   Wikipedia

  • Television advertisement — Commercial break redirects here. For the Blur song, see Modern Life is Rubbish. A television advertisement or television commercial, often just commercial, advert, ad, or ad film (India) – is a span of television programming produced and paid for …   Wikipedia

  • Television pilot — A television pilot is a test episode of an intended television series. It is an early step in the development of a television series, much like pilot lights or pilot studies serve as precursors to start of larger activity. Networks use pilots to… …   Wikipedia

  • Television in Argentina — Culture of Argentina Architecture Cinema Comics Cuisine Dance Holidays Humor …   Wikipedia

  • TELEVISION AND RADIO — In the U.S. In the U.S. Jews have played a major role in the development of television and radio as they have in other entertainment industries. They have been well represented in all executive and technical aspects of the industry, as well as… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Televisión en Alemania — La televisión en Alemania comenzó en Berlin el 22 de marzo de 1935, transmitiendo por 90 minutos durante tres veces a la semana. La televisión alemana tenía aproximadamente 36.5 millones televisores receptores en 2000, convirtiendo al mercado… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Media studies — is an academic discipline and field of study that deals with the content, history and effects of various media; in particular, the mass media . Media studies may draw on traditions from both the social sciences and the humanities, but mostly from …   Wikipedia

  • Social aspects of television — The social aspects of television are influences this medium has had on society since its inception. The belief that this impact has been dramatic has been largely unchallenged in media theory since its inception. However, there is much dispute as …   Wikipedia

  • John Fiske (media studies) — John Fiske is a media scholar who has taught around the world, most notably as Professor of Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin Madison. His areas of interest include popular culture, mass culture, and television studies. He is the… …   Wikipedia

  • Society for Cinema and Media Studies — The Society for Cinema and Media Studies (formerly the Society for Cinema Studies) is an organization of professors and scholars. Its home office is at the University of Oklahoma, but it has members throughout the world.SCMS holds an annual… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.