Analysing television shows as doing real work

Hi there readers,

I wanted to talk today about the idea of watching television shows and analysing the elements within television shows as doing ‘work’.

I get a lot of grief from my friends who laugh at the idea of studying a module such as Television Studies where we watch television shows within out lectures. Sure, it’s extremely fun to watch Jeremy Kyle in a lecture theatre rather than in bed on a weekday morning but it’s not as simple as just “watching tele”.

For prospective students and deniers reading, we unpack the narrative and the story of what is happening within the media text to analyse the sociological impacts of what is going on in human society. The relationship between media and the people is what fascinates me, and why I chose the subject.

For example, we studied the film Rebel Without a Cause which was made in 1955 and an example of what I think encapsulates American society during the time. It was one of the first times where the film industry presented a rebellious youth, one where teenagers would be smoking, dressing in different clothes which were seen to be ‘cool’ and arguing with their parents.

In a way, it is like learning history because through a detailed analysis of the film, you learn about another society and the filmmaking techniques in which these were presented to the audience.

The degree isn’t focused to watching media, but also learning about the ways in which it is used between people to communicate to one another, and to a larger public. I read a study last year about the ways in which people use Facebook and it was interesting to me that people are starting to replace social activities such as hanging out with your friend, by speaking to them on Facebook chat instead, due to convenience and low cost (Marwick, 2012).

So the next time you think that because one of your friends is watching a television show in their class, then make sure you know what they really are doing!

Any comments, then feel free to post below! 🙂

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Jordan

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Jordan has now graduated from the University of Leicester.

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