Beyond these scholarly aims and questions, Screening Socialism also seeks to popularise the knowledge about socialist television among a wider audience, and raise awareness of its importance as an integral part of European audiovisual heritage. In contrast to Western Europe, where television heritage has slowly gained in recognition and increasingly often features in museum exhibitions and dedicated archival collections, the vast body of material produced in Eastern Europe is often hidden from view and difficult to access.
At the moment this includes selected visual materials, brief television histories, and publications to date. These materials will be updated as the project develops, and complemented by excerpts from life story interviews. Over the coming years, the exhibition is scheduled to travel to neighbouring countries in South-eastern Europe. The project is original and innovative not only in terms of the research problems it addresses, but also in terms of its research design, which relies on transnational comparison. This design will enable us to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the diversity of national television cultures in the region, and investigate the different configurations of internal and external factors that gave rise to particular kinds of television culture in each country.
The analysis spans five socialist countries East Germany, Poland, Romania, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia which are characterised by different degrees of openness to East-West exchanges and different patterns of television infrastructure development — two of the key factors that are believed to shape socialist television cultures. Each of the four layers of data is examined first at national level and then comparatively, across the five countries. In the final step, the analysis will focus on identifying the constellations of factors that could help explain the patterns of difference and similarity and change over time.
Public viewing of television on the streets of Belgrade, 23 August Photo courtesy of the Television Belgrade Programme Archive. The key findings of the project can be mapped broadly onto two axes: spaces of television and times of television. The selected preliminary conclusions presented here are based on materials gathered from two countries only Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union and will be revised in light of material from the remaining three countries as the project develops. One of the spatial aspects explored in the project is the changing relationship between television, personal life and the public domain.
After Stalin's death in , improved provision of consumer goods, increases in leisure time, and a rise in living standards were seen as a means for legitimising socialist rule. Television is often regarded as an inherently intimate medium, prone to personal narratives and modes of address, and tightly intertwined with the everyday rhythm of domestic life. Yet, as our analysis of serial television fiction shows, this intrinsically personal character of television sat uneasily with the ostensibly public, collectivist nature of the communist project.
By the late s, attention shifted back to public narratives and settings, such as the epic struggle against Nazi enemies on the battlefronts of World War Two, or the troubles and achievements of working life in socialist factories. It was only in the s, when the Party hold over the media started to soften, that serial fiction turned away from the public realm, and rediscovered its fascination with the domestic and the personal.
These results raise intriguing questions about the relationship between television and the communist project, and the nature of television as such. The prevalence of public settings and narratives in domestic television series suggests that the cultural form of television, as known from the liberal democracies of the West, underwent some important modifications in the state socialist context.
Abstract: This study draws from a series of qualitative interviews and take-home diaries conducted with groups of home film and television audiences to examine everyday practices of media attention and distraction. Name: Dissertation Size: 1. Format: PDF. Login Register.
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The trouble with media studies Gauntlett, D. The trouble with media studies. Media studies: the essential resource London Routledge.
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