4974 television

1 Ownership and control: televisions politi
cal economy.
2 Texts: its content.
3 Audiences: its public.

Within these categories lie several other

1 Approaches to ownership and control vary
between neoliberal endorsements of lim
ited regulation by the state, in the interests
of guaranteeing market entry for new
competitors, and Marxist critiques of the
bourgeois medias agenda for discussing
2 Approaches to textuality vary between
hermeneutic endeavors, which unearth
the meaning of individual programs and
link them to broader social formations and
problems, and content analytic endeavors,
which establish patterns across significant
numbers of similar texts, rather than close
readings of individual ones.
3 Approaches to audiences vary between social
psychological attempts to validate correla
tions between watching TV and social con
duct, and culturalist critiques of imported
television threatening national culture.

There is an additional bifurcation between
approaches favored by those working and/or
trained in US social sciences versus the rest of
the world. These relate to wider intellectual
differences, but also to distinctive traditions of
public policy. Like so many other areas of
social life, TV is principally regarded as a
means of profit through entertainment in the
US and, historically at least, as a means of
governance through information elsewhere.
The first tradition focuses on audiences as con
sumers, the second as citizens. Pierre Bourdieu
(1998: 48) refers to these rather graceless anti
nomies as populist spontaneism and demago
gic capitulation to popular tastes versus
paternalistic pedagogic television. Neoliberal
deregulation since the 1980s has privatized TV
all over the globe under the sign of the US
exemplar, but there continue to be theoretical,
analytic, and political correlatives to this differ
ence between the US and the rest.
Just as US sociology determinedly clings to a
binary opposition between qualitative and
quantitative approaches, between impression
and science, between commitment and truth,
so it has hewed closely to methodological indi
vidualism in seeking to explain why people and
television interact as they do, looking for links
between TV and violence, misogyny, and edu
cational attainment. Conversely, sociologists
elsewhere worry less about such issues. They
are more exercised by Hollywoods impact on
their own countries cultural expression. Global
sociology is inclined to use critical terminology
and methods that look at TV as a collective
issue, rather than an individual one; a matter
of interpretation and politics more than psy
chological impact. But there is in fact a link
between the two anxieties.
In their different ways, each is an effects
model, in that they assume television does
things to people, that audience members are at
risk of abjuring either interpersonal responsi
bility (in the US) or national culture (in the rest
of the world). In Harold Garfinkels (1992: 68)
words, both models assume that the audience is
a cultural dope . . . acting in compliance with
the common culture. Caricaturing people in
this way clouds the actual common sense
rationalities . . . of here and now situations
they use. Most of the time that the television
audience is invoked by sociologists, or by TVs
critics and regulators, it is understood as just
such a dope; for example, the assumption
that children are sitting victims; television
bites them (Schramm et al. 1961: 1).
The dope splits in two, in keeping with
dominant audience models. The first appears
in a domestic effects model, or DEM. Dominant
in the US, and increasingly exported around
the world, it is typically applied without con
sideration of place and is psychological. The
DEM offers analysis and critique of education
and civic order. It views television as a force
that can either direct or pervert the audience.
Entering young minds hypodermically, TV can
both enable and imperil learning. It may also
drive viewers to violence through aggressive
and misogynistic images and narratives. The
DEM is found at a variety of sites, including
laboratories, clinics, prisons, schools, news
papers, psychology journals, television stations
research and publicity departments, every
day talk, program classification regulations,
conference papers, parliamentary debates, and