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Legitimating Television: Media Convergence and Cultural Status explores how and why television is gaining a new level of cultural respectability in the 21st century. Once looked down upon as a "plug-in drug" offering little redeeming social or artistic value, television is now said to be in a creative renaissance, with critics hailing the rise of Quality series such as Mad Men and 30 Rock. Likewise, DVDs and DVRs, web video, HDTV, and mobile devices have shifted the longstanding conception of television as a household appliance toward a new understanding of TV as a sophisticated, high-tech gadget. Newman and Levine argue that television’s growing prestige emerges alongside the convergence of media at technological, industrial, and experiential levels. Television is permitted to rise in respectability once it is connected to more highly valued media and audiences. Legitimation works by denigrating "ordinary" television associated with the past, distancing the television of the present from the feminized and mass audiences assumed to be inherent to the "old" TV. It is no coincidence that the most validated programming and technologies of the convergence era are associated with a more privileged viewership. The legitimation of television articulates the medium with the masculine over the feminine, the elite over the mass, reinforcing cultural hierarchies that have long perpetuated inequalities of gender and class. Legitimating Television urges readers to move beyond the question of taste—whether TV is "good" or "bad"—and to focus instead on the cultural, political, and economic issues at stake in television’s transformation in the digital age.
Legitimating Television: Media Convergence and Cultural Status explores how and why television is gaining a new level of cultural respectability in the 21st century. Once looked down upon as a "plug-in drug" offering little redeeming social or artistic value, television is now said to be in a creative renaissance, with critics hailing the rise of Quality series such as Mad Men and 30 Rock. Likewise, DVDs and DVRs, web video, HDTV, and mobile devices have shifted the longstanding conception of television as a household appliance toward a new understanding of TV as a sophisticated, high-tech gadget. Newman and Levine argue that televisionâe(tm)s growing prestige emerges alongside the convergence of media at technological, industrial, and experiential levels. Television is permitted to rise in respectability once it is connected to more highly valued media and audiences. Legitimation works by denigrating "ordinary" television associated with the past, distancing the television of the present from the feminized and mass audiences assumed to be inherent to the "old" TV. It is no coincidence that the most validated programming and technologies of the convergence era are associated with a more privileged viewership. The legitimation of television articulates the medium with the masculine over the feminine, the elite over the mass, reinforcing cultural hierarchies that have long perpetuated inequalities of gender and class. Legitimating Television urges readers to move beyond the question of tasteâe"whether TV is "good" or "bad"âe"and to focus instead on the cultural, political, and economic issues at stake in televisionâe(tm)s transformation in the digital age.
Legitimating Television: Media Convergence and Cultural Status explores how and why television is gaining a new level of cultural respectability in the 21st century. Once looked down upon as a "plug-in drug" offering little redeeming social or artistic value, television is now said to be in a creative renaissance, with critics hailing the rise of Quality series such as Mad Men and 30 Rock. Likewise, DVDs and DVRs, web video, HDTV, and mobile devices have shifted the longstanding conception of television as a household appliance toward a new understanding of TV as a sophisticated, high-tech gadget. Newman and Levine argue that televisionâe(tm)s growing prestige emerges alongside the convergence of media at technological, industrial, and experiential levels. Television is permitted to rise in respectability once it is connected to more highly valued media and audiences. Legitimation works by denigrating "ordinary" television associated with the past, distancing the television of the present from the feminized and mass audiences assumed to be inherent to the "old" TV. It is no coincidence that the most validated programming and technologies of the convergence era are associated with a more privileged viewership. The legitimation of television articulates the medium with the masculine over the feminine, the elite over the mass, reinforcing cultural hierarchies that have long perpetuated inequalities of gender and class. Legitimating Television urges readers to move beyond the question of tasteâe"whether TV is "good" or "bad"âe"and to focus instead on the cultural, political, and economic issues at stake in televisionâe(tm)s transformation in the digital age.
Media expansion into the digital realm and the continuing segregation of users into niches has led to a proliferation of cultural products targeted to and consumed by women. Though often dismissed as frivolous or excessively emotional, feminized culture in reality offers compelling insights into the American experience of the early twenty-first century. Elana Levine brings together writings from feminist critics that chart the current terrain of feminized pop cultural production. Analyzing everything from Fifty Shades of Grey to Pinterest to pregnancy apps, contributors examine the economic, technological, representational, and experiential dimensions of products and phenomena that speak to, and about, the feminine. As these essays show, the imperative of productivity currently permeating feminized pop culture has created a generation of texts that speak as much to women's roles as public and private workers as to an impulse for fantasy or escape. Incisive and compelling, Cupcakes, Pinterest, and Ladyporn sheds new light on contemporary women's engagement with an array of media forms in the context of postfeminist culture and neoliberalism.
From Stranger than Paradise (1984) to Synecdoche, New York (2008), America's independent films often seem to defy classification. Their strategies of storytelling and representation vary widely, and they range from raw, no-budget productions to the more polished releases of Hollywood's "specialty" divisions. Understanding American indies involves more than just considering films. Filmmakers, distributors, exhibitors, festivals, critics, and audiences play a role in the art's identity, which is always understood in relation to the Hollywood mainstream. By locating the American indie in the historical context of the Sundance-Miramax era (the mid-1980s to the end of the 2000s), Michael Z. Newman considers indie cinema as an alternative American film culture. His work isolates patterns of character and realism, formal play, and oppositionality in these films and the function of festivals, art houses, and critical media in promoting them. He accounts for the power of audiences to distinguish indie films from mainstream Hollywood and to seek socially emblematic characters and playful form in their narratives. Analyzing films such as Welcome to the Dollhouse (1996), Lost in Translation (2003), Pulp Fiction (1994), and Juno (2007), along with the work of Nicole Holofcener, Jim Jarmusch, John Sayles, Steven Soderbergh, and the Coen brothers, Newman investigates the conventions that cast indies as culturally legitimate works of art and sustain these films' appeal. In doing so, he not only binds these diverse works together within a cluster of distinct viewing strategies but also invites readers to reevaluate the difference of independent cinema, as well as its relationship to class and taste culture.
Major short introduction to the field of television studies. Clearly lays out the birth of this discipline, shows its links with other fields of study and explains key concepts and theoretical debates. Includes interview material with scholars whose work has defined the field
Rerun Nation is a fascinating approach to television history and theory through the ubiquitous yet overlooked phenomenon of reruns. Kompare covers both historical and conceptual ground, weaving together a refresher course in the history of television with a critical analysis of how reruns have shaped the cultural, economic, and legal terrains of American television. Given the expanding use of past media texts not only in the United States, but also in virtually every media-rich society, this book addresses a critical facet of everyday life.

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