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An historical inquiry into the political and cultural context for the emergence of a television aesthetic in the nineteen-fifties

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An historical inquiry into the political and cultural context for the emergence of a television aesthetic in the nineteen-fifties

Dowler, Kevin L (1993) An historical inquiry into the political and cultural context for the emergence of a television aesthetic in the nineteen-fifties. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This inquiry is concerned with the examination of an aesthetic discourse of television as it emerged in the early nineteen-fifties. The set of critical texts analyzed are considered as evidence of a shared disposition constitutive of a coherent discourse that regarded television as an aesthetic medium, or, at minimum, to embody aesthetic potentials. The inquiry seeks to discern the cultural and historical conditions whereby an aesthetic analysis of television could be undertaken. This involves retracing genealogically the origins of the aesthetic of television through the analysis of critical discourses of popular media and aesthetics which emerged at the turn of the century in the United States, placing the development of a television aesthetic within the historical context of discourses that sought to legitimize aesthetic criticism of popular culture. The television aesthetic is seen to arise neither ex nihilo, nor as the simple outcome of the reapplication of a coherent "tradition" of criticism of popular culture that preceded it: it is both the product of historically antecedent discussion of the popular, and a product of the specific juncture within which it emerges. Also addressed is the set of relations which obtain between this formation and other discursive formations, between those favourably disposed toward popular culture, and those espousing negative dispositions, focusing on the question of the conditions which allow the term aesthetic to be applied to popular media. This revolves around the question of the nominative capacities of intellectual and cultural formations with regard to all media: the capacity to determine what can or cannot be called art. The discourses engaging with the popular are examined in relationship to other discourses and domains which held a different, and competing, definition of social and cultural space. This leads to assessing the set of relations which governed attitudes toward culture and authenticity, and why this discursive formation was unable to establish the legitimacy of television as an aesthetic medium

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Communication Studies
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Dowler, Kevin L
Pagination:vi, 363 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (Ph.D.)
Program:Communication Studies
Date:1993
Thesis Supervisor(s):Charland, M
ID Code:2448
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 15:17
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:26
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