Sunday, May 1, 2011

Fiske and Hartley - Reading Television

Fiske, John, and John Hartley. Reading Television. London: Routledge, 2003. [2nd Edition]

Originally published: 1978

Fiske and Hartley begin their explanation of how to read TV with semiotics. They also use Barthes and Mythologies to acknowledge the importance of myths in television. They discuss the audience theory of Stuart Hall.

Their conclusion is that television is best understood as a bardic and oral medium, rather than a literary medium. Examining the images portrayed on the TV is not enough to reveal its full meaning.

Bardic role of television:
1. Articulates dominant understanding of reality
2. implicates members of culture into the dominant value system by endorsing ideology
3. Celebrates individuals who adhere to the dominant ideology
4. Assure the culture of the adequacy of the dominant ideology in facing an unpredictable world
5. Exposes inadequacies in the culture's sense of itself for a potential ideological reorientation
6. Convince audience that their status and identity is guaranteed by the culture as a whole
7. Transmit a sense of cultural membership (security and involvement)

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