Television Under Dictatorships:
Call for Submissions to an Edited Collection of Academic Articles
Scholars from various fields have often written about the strategic value of media control to repressive regimes, but very little has been published concerning the specific television cultures and programmes that have developed in such political contexts. In particular, little attention has been given to the wide range of programme forms, genres and texts that have been broadcast under dictatorships. This lack of attention may have perpetuated the view that such television has been constituted by a stream of broadcasts of military parades, personality cults and propagandised 'news' content. Yet television may also have included other programmes such as soap opera and serious drama, documentary, talk, entertainment, music and sport. Television produced under repressive regimes has also been thought of as of low quality, with little aesthetic merit, and lacking in intellectual or artistic value because it was constrained by tight controls and censorship. This too overlooks the diversity and complexity of television programming and production.
We are therefore seeking contributions to an internationally-based and historically-focused edited collection that begins to explore a number of these television forms and issues. We are interested in contributions that address questions that include, but are not restricted to, the following:
* What types of programmes and genres were shown (parades/ personality cults/ news/ soaps/ drama/ entertainment/ music etc.)?
* Was there a distinctive aesthetic/ textual character to the television programmes shown? (If there was, how might this be attributable to the political context rather than cultural/ national variation? What was the relationship between the political context and production practices?)
* What were the cultures of viewing under such regimes? (For example, how closely aligned were such programmes to audience tastes and interests? To what extent were audiences ambivalent or resistant? Could certain programmes be interpreted as subversive?)
* How much influence did foreign television systems or foreign-originated programming have on the character of television?
* How was television implicated at times when the nation came together (state rallies, for example) or fractured apart (revolution, civil war, etc.)?
We envisage a series of case studies about television in particular states under dictators, military juntas or one-party rule, and involving any time-period from the birth of television to the mid-1990s. Although we recognize that authors will need to place television within a national institutional/ regulatory context, the main focus of the book will be on accounts of television content/ programme texts, aesthetics, production practices and audience experience, whether in relation to everyday life, 'media events' or at moments of particular crisis. We welcome contributions covering television in Europe, the former Soviet bloc, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, South America or any other part of the world.
Interested scholars should e-mail a proposal (250 words approx.), together with a biographical note, to Rob Turnock (Royal Holloway, University of London, [log in to unmask]) or Peter Goddard (University of Liverpool, [log in to unmask]) by 19 November 2007. We would normally expect finished articles to be submitted within 12 months from when the proposal is approved.
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