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Seeing Things: Television in the Age of Uncertainty

Seeing Things: Television in the Age of Uncertainty
John Ellis

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Television, the author argues, responds to two powerful desires of our age: it makes us witnesses of often traumatic events and it tries - and fails - to provide us with narratives that make sense of the world. The author makes sense of modern television, both by exploring its processes and in terms of its dynamic relationships with the cultures that provide it with raw material. Television, he proposes, offers us multiple ways of understanding the world, yet does not arbitrate between them. He explores this process as one of "working through", whereby television news takes in the chaos and conflict of the world and subsequent programmes of all kinds offer diverse ways of unravelling its confusions, from the psychobabble of talk shows to the open narratives of soaps, documentaries and dramas. By means of this working through, problems are exhausted rather than resolved. The author demonstrates how television's function in its new era is no longer that of building consensus; rather it uses all the means at its disposal, including sophisticated computer graphics, to mediate between conflicting approaches to our age of uncertainty.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction;
  • witness - a new way of perceiving the world;
  • witness through the 20th century;
  • the first era of television - scarcity;
  • the second era of television - availability;
  • working through - television in the age of uncertainty;
  • working through and the videographic;
  • working through and the genres of television;
  • scheduling - where power lies in television;
  • Channel 4 - from offer-led to demand-led television;
  • the third era of television - plenty.

Author Info

John Ellis runs an independent television production company and is also Reader at the School of Media Arts and Communication, Bournemouth University.

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.

ISBN: 9781860644894
Publication Date: 30 Oct 1999
Number of Pages: 196
Height: 216
Width: 138
Illustrations: b&w illustrations, bibliography, index

ISBN: 9781860641251
Publication Date: 31 Dec 1999
Number of Pages: 196
Height: 216
Width: 138
Illustrations: b&w illustrations

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