Television Studies

The Key Concepts

Bernadette Casey, Neil Casey, Ben Calvert, Liam French and Justin Lewis

Routledge Key Guides. 2001. Pbk. 291 pages.

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Television studies have become more popular in the last ten years, and it is beginning to gain more academic respect. Since TV plays such an important role in shaping our view of the world and is a major source of entertainment for most of us in the Western World, it seems silly not to try to understand its grip on our imaginations and lives.

The authors cover approximately 70 key concepts relating to TV studies, from Access to Women in Film. I should think this guide would be most useful for media students, especially when in the process of writing essays. When you start scribbling (or keyboarding) away at your essay you might find yourself throwing in half-understood terms and you end up scratching your head wondering what the hell a term like ‘structuralism’ really means, of course the swines in text books use such terms but don’t always explain it very well or the context is confusing. So now you can clarify your own text by referring to this volume.

Just in case you were wondering the authors tell us that structuralism attempts to be ‘a scientific method which located unity and order in the underlying structures of texts but assumed that analysts’ meanings coincided with those of the read.’ So now you know.

All the entries are at least two or three pages long and give a clear description of how the many different concepts and terms relate to our better understanding of TV. To explore these concepts further there is a 15 page bibliography.

Having struggled with some jargon riddled texts on TV myself this is an essential book for any media student or for any couch potato who takes their viewing seriously.

Nigel Watson
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