Chapter

Television Fiction in Context: Education and Entertainment

Lesley Henderson

in Social Issues in Television Fiction

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print June 2007 | ISBN: 9780748625314
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651177 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748625314.003.0001
Television Fiction in Context: Education and Entertainment

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Compared to the well-developed sociology of news production, there are few accounts of how the production process operates in relation to television fiction. The soap opera has not been examined and investigated from the political economy perspective. This approach is not associated with television fiction. Again, in comparison with production studies of news, the production of non-journalistic content as a whole is an underdeveloped and fragmentary field of research. To put it simply, television fiction has largely been studied as a site of entertainment and pleasure despite of its importance in ‘conveying social meanings and cultural forms’. This book is concerned with ‘public issues’ in television fiction. The focus is on the television serial drama and in particular on the role of soap opera. The book hopes to contribute to the understandings of how ‘issue’ storylines are produced, presented and received. It uses this format as a lens through which to closely examine how power is distributed and mediated through television fiction. The book reflects more broadly on the function of television fiction in contemporary culture, positioning it as culturally charged. Its overriding concern is with the power of the media to shape public attitudes and beliefs about public issues. This approach is characterised as being empirical, problem based, alert to questions of power and keen to inform policy and public debate. The studies in the book are thus situated at the intersecting point between these two distinct projects – analysing television fiction not simply as a site of pleasure, but also as a site of definitional power.

Keywords: production process; television fiction; soap opera; political economy perspective; public issues; television serial drama; issue storylines; media

Chapter.  11292 words. 

Subjects: Television

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