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Issues in Global Television: Analogue, Digital, National, Transnational


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 7
  • Convenor: Janet McCabe (subject to change)
  • Assessment: an essay of 5000 words (100%)

Module description

This module will explore the rich and varied histories of television within the global context. Initially broadcasters used to be entirely nation-bound: heavily regulated against foreign competition, they aimed for self-sufficiency and had few channels; while analogue defined the linearity of scheduling and delivery. With increased trade and commercial circulation and ever more deregulation of national broadcasting systems, and accelerated by the era of convergence, broadcasters may still operate in a national market, but they also operate in a far more intricate and contested global media landscape. The module aims to draw out the implications of that complexity and understand how different national broadcasters produce, and think about, television - in relation to culture and identities, audiences and users, industry, trade and globalisation.

The first part sketches out the key theoretical and methodological challenges for defining television: how to understand television as shaped by the politics of the nation-state, as well as the cultural imperialism thesis that explains the forces that trespass over national boundaries, and the formation of hybrid cultures drawn from different locales, the phenomena of transnationlisation and deterritorialisation and migrant media and transnational audiences. Part two focuses on ‘national’ television systems and broadcast cultures, offering various case studies to further draw out the implications of the national and globalised paradigms explored in part one. The module concludes by bringing together the different strands, to explore how television formats and ideas about television circulate and are traded, but also adapted and translated into national, often local, sometimes regional communities. Questions of translation and practices of adaptation will be central to the discussion.

Indicative module content

  • History, Themes, Methodologies: television - the politics of the nation-state; television - cultural proximity, cultural imperialism and local resistance; television - the age of convergence, migrant media and transnational audiences
  • National Television Systems: Europe and Latin America, Lusophone telenovelas; East Asia, from Japanese trendy drama to the Korean New Wave; international, local, regional television, case study of Africa
  • Transnationalism, Translation, Adaptation: transnationalism - case study of music and EuroVision; fiction - case study of Yo soy Betty/Ugly Betty; non-fiction formats - game shows