Of all the mass media television is the most intimately associated with domestic and familial life. Its installation in American homes over the postwar decade coincided with a revival of family life that encouraged an emphasis on private over public leisure. Most television is watched at home, and the activities that comprise "watching television" are interwoven with everyday domestic routines and provide a site for negotiating family roles and relations. Television production is shaped by producers' images of the domestic lives of viewers: schedules are designed on the basis of socially conditioned assumptions about the gendered division of family roles; television's modes of address include a distinctive, conversational style in which performers present themselves as members or friends of the viewer's family; families or surrogate families figure prominently in the content of programming across a wide range of genres, including sitcoms, dramas, soaps and talk shows. Sitcoms, in particular, have responded to and mediated shifts in family forms and they will be a focus in this course. We will explore how television has drawn on and contributed to cultural discourses about family life over the past 50 years.
COURSE FORMAT: Lecture
Level: UGRD Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS ANTH Grading Mode: Graded
Last Updated on MAR-30-2006
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