In this broad-ranging text, Peter Dahlgren clarifies the underlying theoretical concepts of civil society and the public sphere, and relates these to a critical analysis of the practice of television as journalism, as information and as entertainment. He demonstrates the limits and the possibilities of the television medium and the formats of popular journalism. These issues are linked to the potential of the audience to interpret or resist messages, and to construct its own meanings. What does a realistic understanding of the functioning and the capabilities of television imply for citizenship and democracy in a mediated age?
Chapter 2: Prismatic Television
All sorts of questions can be – and have been – asked of television, and many sorts of answers have been given, from a wide variety of perspectives and with the use of many different methodologies. Television is also inserted into a number of different popular and professional discourses, which thematize it in different ways, for example, as a news medium, as entertainment, as a great time waster, as a babysitter gone out of control, as a source of everyday chit-chat, and as a cause of negative social effects. Even if we remain relatively undaunted in the face of multiplying analytic and popular perspectives, the very polymorphous quality of the object itself makes it elusive. The closer we try to get to ...