Televisuality: Style, Crisis, and Authority in American Television

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Rutgers University Press, 1995 - Performing Arts - 437 pages
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“Holling is tormented by Koyaanisqatsi dreams until he goes out and does the wild thing with a young stag . . . . ”––Synopsis from production company “Bible,” Northern Exposure, March 30, 1992

The collision of auteurism and rap––couched by primetime producers in the Northern Exposure script––was actually rather commonplace by the early 1990s. Series, and even news broadcasts, regularly engineered their narratives around highly coded aesthetic and cultural fragments, with a kind of ensemble iconography. Televisuality interrogates the nature of such performances as an historical phenomenon, an aesthetic and industrial practice, and as a socially symbolic act. This book suggests that postmodernism does not fully explain television's stylistic exhibitionism and that a reexamination of “high theory” is in order. Caldwell's unique approach successfully integrates production practice with theory in a way that will enlighten both critical theory and cultural studies.


 

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Contents

Unwanted Houseguests and Altered States
32
Modes of Production The Televisual Apparatus
73
Boutique Designer TelevisionAuteurist Spin Doctoring
105
Franchiser Digital PackaginglndustrialStrength Semiotics
134
Loss Leader Event Status ProgrammingExhibitionist History
160
Trash TV ThriftShop VideoMore Is More
193
Tabloid TV Styled LiveOnto logical Stripmall
223
Televisual Audience Interactive Pizza
249
Televisual Economy Recessionary Aesthetics
284
Televisual Politics Negotiating Race in the L A Rebellion
302
Notes
359
Bibliography
407
Index
423
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