Television: An International History / Edition 2

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Television, long regarded as mere entertainment, is now being seriously considered for its significance in all our lives. The crusading "60 Minutes" has become the archetype of the news program acting in the public interest; the irreverent zaniness of "Monty Python's Flying Circus" has permanently changed our view of the world—if only our view of how silly it can be; and MTV has irrevocably altered the popular music scene. Of course, C-SPAN revolutionized the public view of Congress, and without CNN the Gulf War would have been a far different experience—indeed, without the close-up coverage of the war in Vietnam, our opinions about war itself would be far different.
Now, in Television: An International History, the first illustrated history of our most influential cultural phenomenon, readers will find an invaluable resource that covers the whole expanse of the medium, from Africa to Australia, from Burbank to Bangkok, covering news, sports, drama, comedy, and more. Written by a distinguished team of specialists, Television describes the history of T.V. from its technical conception in the nineteenth century right through the bewildering multimedia developments of the present. Alongside this historical account, chapters provide an important discussion of the central debates affecting television worldwide, from technological developments to programming (how it differs around the world, and how it has evolved over the years), and from television's impact on society (including questions of violence and social standards) to television's relationship to terrorism.
Television has been seen as simply yet another market, and as a social tool; it has been condemned, controlled, and (rarely) praised as a social good. Yet, in many ways, television has shaped modern culture, and social life now revolves around entertainment in the home in a way unthinkable sixty years ago, forcing us to examine such questions as: How have viewing practices affected our homes? How do we arrive at fair standards of taste and decency? And how does government influence television? For example, will the role of public service broadcasting drastically change, or altogether disappear, as Congress considers slashing its funding?
Vividly illustrated and accessibly written, Television is a major exploration of the world's most dominant and defining medium. It will intrigue anyone interested in its early beginnings, its impact on our society, and its not-so-distant future.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this collection of 12 essays, we learn that the word ``television'' was used for the first time at the 1900 Paris Exhibition. The first demonstration of TV was conducted in 1909. And although in the U.S. the medium was ready to go commercial in 1939, the advent of WWII delayed its debut until 1947; even then, only 60,000 sets had been sold here. But by the early 1950s, with the help of such shows as I Love Lucy and Dragnet, TV had become a part of American home life. In other areas of the world, Charles de Gaulle became the first politician to use TV to his personal advantage; and the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 was the kickstart for British TV viewing. The chapter titled ``Non-Fiction Television'' gives us a political blow-by-blow from Senator Joe McCarthy through the Watergate hearings; ``Television in the Home and Family'' examines the sociological effects of TV on family life; and another essay looks into the perpetual debates about ``Taste, Decency, and Standards.'' We also see examples of Soviet TV propaganda: Your Leninist Library; and how the 1964 Tokyo Olympics ushered in the age of color TV in Japan. Smith, a former BBC producer, has edited an academic, and sometimes dry, look at a vital medium. Photos. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Serious observers of the sociology of television will appreciate the breadth and depth of this history. It contains articles by various specalists and is grouped into several thematic sections: the invention, marketing, and early uses of TV; specific forms and genres (entertainment, sports, news/talk, political events, etc.); TV and society (addressing everything from the family to terrorism); and, finally, international TV. Intriguing issues are raised, particularly concerning the influence of this medium on contemporary society and vice versa. Other topics include government regulations, censorship, and the mechanics of the industry, to name a few. Each perspective is closely analyzed, and points are supported with historical details, technical data, and thoughtful conclusions. For academic libraries and public libraries with large media collections.-Carol J. Binkowski, Bloomfield, N.J.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198159285
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 9/28/1998
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

About the Editor:
Anthony Smith worked as a producer at the BBC from 1960-1971 and was Director of the British Film Institute from 1979-1988. He has been President of Magdalen College, Oxford since 1988.
Richard Paterson is Head of Media, Education, and Research at the British Film Institute, London

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Table of Contents

Notes on Contributors
Introduction 1
Pt. 1 Origins and Institutions 7
1 The Invention of Television 9
2 The Beginnings of American Television 23
3 Television as a Public Service Medium 38
Pt. 2 Forms and Genres 55
4 Drama and Entertainment 57
5 Non-Fiction Television 69
6 Sport 85
7 Political Ceremony and Instant History 97
Pt. 3 Television and Society 107
8 Television in the Home and Family 109
9 Taste, Decency, and Standards 122
10 Terrorism 132
Pt. 4 Television across the World 145
11 The American Networks 147
12 Canada 162
13 Japan 169
14 The Arab World 182
15 The Third World 188
16 South Asia 201
17 Australia 208
18 Scandinavia, Netherlands, and Belgium 223
19 Africa 234
20 Greater China 247
21 Latin America 254
Epilogue: The Future 264
Further Reading 268
Television Museums and Archives 280
Index 283
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