Network Nations: A Transnational History of British and American Broadcasting

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Routledge, May 23, 2012 - Social Science - 376 pages
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In Network Nations, Michele Hilmes reveals and re-conceptualizes the roots of media globalization through a historical look at the productive transnational cultural relationship between British and American broadcasting. Though frequently painted as opposites--the British public service tradition contrasting with the American commercial system--in fact they represent two sides of the same coin. Neither could have developed without the constant presence of the other, in terms not only of industry and policy but of aesthetics, culture, and creativity, despite a long history of oppositional rhetoric.

Based on primary research in British and American archives, Network Nations argues for a new transnational approach to media history, looking across the traditional national boundaries within which media is studied to encourage an awareness that media globalization has a long and fruitful history. Placing media history in the framework of theories of nationalism and national identity, Hilmes examines critical episodes of transnational interaction between the US and Britain, from radio’s amateurs to the relationship between early network heads; from the development of radio features and drama to television spy shows and miniseries; as each other’s largest suppliers of programming and as competitors on the world stage; and as a network of creative, business, and personal relationships that has rarely been examined, but that shapes television around the world. As the global circuits of television grow and as global regions, particularly Europe, attempt to define a common culture, the historical role played by the British/US media dialogue takes on new significance.


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List of Abbreviations
Thinking TransnationallyThe Anglo
Nations National Identity and the Transnational
Chapter Summary
The Nations Imagine Radio 19221938
National Broadcasting in Britain
The American System
Towards Transnationalism
Wartime Radio
PostWar Visions
Television Trade and Transculturation 19461975
New Directions and Disputes 19551964
Transatlantic Partnerships 19641975
Going Global
Manuscript Collections

Enormous Changes at the Last Minute
The Politics and Poetics of Neutrality

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About the author (2012)

Michele Hilmes is Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is the author or editor of several books on media history, including Hollywood and Broadcasting: From Radio to Cable (1990), Radio Voices: American Broadcasting 1922-1952 (1997); Only Connect: A Cultural History of Broadcasting in the United States (3rd ed. 2010); The Radio Reader: Essays in the Cultural History of Radio (2001), The Television History Book (2003), and NBC: America’s Network (2007).

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