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Is there really a global village out there? It may be true that the whole world is watching Dallas and Dynasty, but is everyone seeing the same story? It is a fashionable worry among academics, critics and politicians that American hit programs are agents of cultural imperialism. Until now, however, nobody has known what message, if any, the viewer is actually getting and what critical capabilities he or she commands. In this book, Katz and Liebes analyze conversations about Dallas among groups of families and friends in six different sub-cultures in Israel (where the program was an all-time best-seller), in Japan (where it was rejected), and in the U.S. (the original target audience). The authors propose that there is a process of negotiation between these quintessentially American stories and what the viewers bring to them: their life experiences, the "texts" of their culture, and their expectations from the genre of family drama. A study of these negotiations leads to a typology of "readings" ranging from those that connect the characters with reality to those that find pleasure in the way the puzzle is put together. Concluding that television viewers possess considerably more critical ability than they are often given credit for, this fascinating study will interest a wide range of students and academics in communications, anthropology, literature, semiotics, sociology, and education.
Introduction to the 1993 Edition.
1. On Viewing Dallas Overseas: Introduction to the Study.
2. Reading Television: Television as Text and Viewers as Decoders.
3. The Research Design.
4. One Moroccan Group: A Transcipt and Commentary.
5. Cultural Differences in the Retelling of an Episode.
6. Mutual Aid in the Decoding of Dallas. .
7. Referential Reading.
8. Critical Reading.
9. Neither Here Nor There: Why Dallas Failed in Japan (with Sumiko Iwao).
10. Dallas and Genesis: Primordiality and Seriality in Popular Culture.
11. Dallas as an Educational Game.