brettI11: TV Textuality

posted on 26 Nov 2012 22:34 by uncommon-nonsense in brett


TV Textuality 


TV is the single most influential cultural form of late 20th century/ early 21th century

  contemporary penetration into household

  it is the most widely consume medium (av. 13 years)


TV has been an integral element - as both agent and effect - of the on going transformation of modern media culture

  print based --> image based culture

Guy Debord = Society of spectacle


-information & communication revolution

-new geopolitical network (nationalism, transnationalism)

-new cultural subjectivity


Technological determinism

  belief that technology & media shaped society, culture, history

Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) "Medium is the message"

  media rewriting all rules of society

"Electronic media is creating a 'global village'"

"Technology will uptake on mass, & change every institution"

ex. Bronze age, Iron age, now it's TV age, internet, etc.






1.speech tribal involved, interdependent

2.writing "Western Man" more detached, linear

3.print media mechanical culture individualised, massified

4.electronic detribalised culture diverse but integrative


TV sits at the intersection of 

  KEY SOCIAL BINARISM: public/private





TV has traditionally been a mass broadcast medium received in the home

The recent advent of multichanneling, cable, satellite, and digital TV is increasingly leading to a newer model of narrowcasting: however, domestic broadcasting still remain TV's primary mode.


TV is a key institution of "Mobile Privatization"

  Raymond Williams

: modern capitalist societies are characterised by an increasing privatization of subjectivity on the one hand & a compensatory mediated mobility on the other

-Tribal society = collective (village, suburb)

From its beginning, TV was promoted & constructed as a quintessentially domestic medium

--> family tree

Simon During: during its relatively short history, TV's interactions with everyday life has intensity

But it equally challenged the separateness of the domestic sphere by 'bringing the world into our home.'


TV & Ideology

the privileged status of TV as public broadcast medium direct to the family home has made it a particularly effective channel of ideology

  Cultivation Theory:

  TV work to cultivate ideology & mindset

  powerful mass medium of socialisation & enculturation


George Gerbner: TV assumed the role performed by religion in earlier culture


TV and Consumerism

TV = central to the promotion of consumerism

as a commodity itself (status symbol of middle-high class)

as a purveyor of commodity (advertisement)

as a channel for promoting ideology of consumerism


TV & Aesthetics

specificity of TV aesthetics

TV has developed its own unique textual & aesthetic modes

  -fundamentally different from those of other media


Charlotte Brunsdon "Televsionness of TV"


Heterogeneity of TV Aesthetic

historically, TV developed its textuality out of competing pre-existing sources

-radio, cinema, popular theatre, print media. (ADOPTED & ADAPTED)

Bolter & Grusin: Remediation

Media often comment on reproduce & replace each other

intensified, but not new.


TV helps instigate the age of Hypermediacy


This makes TV textuality hybridised , complex, expansive, sophisticated

(TV Literacy)


TV as Oral Culture:


unified heterogeneous

individualist collective

linear episodic

univocal polyvocal

concrete fluid


TV textuality as "flow"

  Raymond Williams

  formal/spatial/temporal continuousness

  logic of seriality

  intertextuality (citation, self-referentiality)

  aperture (lack of closure)


TV Textuality as "fragmentary mosaic" John Fiske, John Ellis



  formal aesthetic promiscuity

  rapid metastasis (constantly moving)


TV textuality as 'ebb and flow' : Jeremy Butler

2 อย่างเหมือนกันในอันเดียวกัน 


How to define TV Text?

3 Characteristic TV Genres or Forms

1. soap opera

2. music video

3. commercials




dramatic narrative fiction presented in a continuing, episodic form 


originally developed as radio programming in USA early 1930s

daytime serialised stories

"soap" advertisement sponsors the program

"opera" melodramatic style & context


Daytime Soap:

dominant form of daytime fiction program 

primary female audience

1950s-70s soap goes on for 10 years


Primetime Soap

evening serialised drama for wider audience

wealthy family saga

Teen Soap

afternoon/primetime serialised drama = adolescent/teen characters & issues


Global Soap

emerged as the dominant form of serialised TV narrative in countries around the world


Seriality of Soap



each episode has contained narrative (ex. sitcoms)



narratives over multiple episodes --> closed/open


Multiple narrative streams: "proliferating storylines"

Linkage between & acres episode

Serial history and memory: requires previous knowledge

Cliffhanger & lack of closure

Evolutionary character

focused personal/domestic lives of group of interconnected chara.s



short films that combine song with images for marketing, entertainment, artistic

70s-80s started

MTV's textual form is post-modern anti-aesthetic

  abandon use of cause-effect narrativity

  violate time-space coherence

  shatters textual & formal unity

  foregrounds style & image over content & depth

  creates and celebrates "multi sensual semiotic excess"


John Caldwell: "Televisuality"

80s on, uneven shift in paradigm to mythology, framework, & aesthetic

extreme self-consciousness of style

Characterized by: stylistic exhibition & visual excess

  acute hyperactivity

  obsession with videographic effects

  mixed media & digital compositing




  avant-garde of TV style --> where tv is pushing the envelope

Televisuality has arguably become the post-modern aesthetic dominant

it articulates through style the rapid tempo & fluid mobility of contemporary global, media culture

functions as semiotic reservoir of competing representational tradition & textual style 

pushes the boundaries of audiovisual form




Technological determinists argue TV has directly influenced the shape of modern global societies

in line with broader media histories of mobile privatisation, tv developed as a domestic based broadcast medium

it has assumed a powerful role in processes of ideological reproduction

tv textuality or aesthetics are unique

characterised by fluidity interconnectedness and openness