Skip to main content

Television

TELEVISION STUDIES: the key concepts. By Bernadette Casey, Neil Casey, Ben Calvert, Liam French and Justin Lewis. Routledge pound;10.99

In their introduction to Television Studies: The Key Concepts, the authors acknowledge the "idiosyncratic" nature of their choice, one that "points to our views on what is more or less significant in television studies". "Idiosyncratic" is right; there will be some tutting at a collection of extended definitions that includes topics such as fans and game shows at the expense of, among others, censorship and propaganda.

That said, the rest of these 70-odd items - on globalisation, narrative, intertextuality and discourse, for example - rest firmly in the media studies mainstream. And, in the main, concepts and ideas are explained clearly, with useful cross-references to other subjects and frequent allusions to contemporary programmes (Have I Got News for You, Kilroy, Shooting Stars) to give the explanations topicality. Only the occasional sloppy sentence, such as that (under hegemony) which has Karl Marx arguing that "ordinary peopleI would get fed up with and overthrow the (capitalist) system", betrays an anxiety to make easy some things that aren't.

In fact, too much of the rest isn't easy enough for any but the very brightest pre-university students. Idiosyncrasies and all, this book is indispensable for teachers; most students, though, would probably settle for something more accessible.

Laurence Alster

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you