Media Literacy, Aesthetics, and Culture

Authored by: Elizabeth Burch

Handbook of Visual Communication

Print publication date:  November  2004
Online publication date:  December  2004

Print ISBN: 9780805841787
eBook ISBN: 9781410611581
Adobe ISBN: 9781135636531


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Television production textbooks instruct students on the “right way” to produce programs, but is there really a wrong way to make TV? And who gets to decide the rules? When more and more U.S. programming is exported to other countries through new communication technologies, the implications of this right way/wrong way approach for international television becomes troubling. Is television around the world beginning to look alike? If not, what does it look like? And what explains the differences? To explore these questions, this chapter investigates how culture informs television production. It analyzes aesthetic conventions applied to one highly successful television soap opera in India in order to assess how the visual syntax perhaps differs from the professional norms of American TV. By examining television within a Third World context, a key methodological aspect of media literacy is explored: How aesthetics are bound, in part, by culture.

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