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Television and American Culture

Jason Mittell

Publication Date - March 2009

ISBN: 9780195306675

320 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

In this timely and provocative book, Jason Mittell provides students with a uniquely thorough look at the medium of television.


To understand American popular culture, we need to come to grips with the enormous role that television has played in shaping that culture over the past sixty years. In this timely and provocative book, Jason Mittell provides students with a uniquely thorough look at the medium of television.

Exploring television at once as a technological medium, an economic system, a facet of democracy, and a part of everyday life, this landmark text uses numerous sidebars and case studies to demonstrate the past, immediate, and far-reaching effects of American culture on television--and television's influence on American culture. Arranged topically, the book provides a broad historical overview of television while also honing in on such finer points as the formal attributes of its various genres and its role in gender and racial identity formation.

Replete with examples, this pedagogically rich text includes many end-of-chapter case studies and narratives with suggestions for further reading--and, appropriately, viewing. Illustrations and photographs--primarily DVD grabs--contextualize historical footage and older television programs that may not be familiar to younger students.

A multi-disciplinary approach to American television, Television and American Culture is ideal for an array of intermediate undergraduate- and beginning graduate-level courses, including:
* Television Criticism
* Television & American Culture
* Television & Society
* Introduction to Media Studies
* American Popular Culture
* Radio & TV
* History of Mass Communication
* Broadcasting & Broadcast Programming

For more information about this book, including updates, corrections, links, videos, and teaching resources, visit the companion website at http://tvamericanculture.net.

About the Author(s)

Jason Mittell is Associate Professor of American Studies and Film & Media Culture at Middlebury College. He is the author of Genre and Television: From Cop Shows to Cartoons in American Culture (2004), numerous journal essays and book chapters, and the blog, "Just TV."


"A terrific introduction to the study of television, this textbook masterfully integrates a look at American television's industrial practices, its genres and narrative strategies, and its cultural roles. Professors will find this textbook comprehensive and well-organized, while students will find it engaging and provocative."--Ethan Thompson, Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi

"Mittell brings much needed energy to television studies--a well-rounded treatment of television as culture, industry, form, production, and technology."--Anandam Kavoori, University of Georgia

Table of Contents

    Introduction: Why Television?
    1. Exchanging Programming
    2. Exchanging Audiences
    3. Serving the Public Interest
    4. Televised Citizenship
    5. Making Meanings
    6. Telling Television Stories
    7. Screening America
    8. Representing Identity
    9. Viewing Television
    10. Television for Children
    11. Television's Transforming Technologies
    Conclusion: American Television in a Global Context

Teaching Resources

Support Package

Companion Website: http://tvamericanculture.net/

Author Blog: http://justtv.wordpress.com/