Interacting with television : morning talk-TV and its communicative relationship with women viewers

Wood, Helen Kathleen (2001). Interacting with television : morning talk-TV and its communicative relationship with women viewers. PhD thesis The Open University.



This thesis presents a unique interdisciplinary approach to gender and mass communication within the field of media and cultural studies. It evolves from a trend in media research that understands broadcasting as a communicative event which involves the creation of new and different forms of social action and interaction in a modem world (Meyrowitz, 1985; Thompson, 1995; Scannell, 1989; 1991; Moores, 2000).

It investigates women's involvement with television discourse concentrating on morning talk programming in Britain which presents a concentration of talk shows and magazine programmes. These programmes are chosen specifically because in dealing with issues that are usually contained within the personal and private domain they often privilege the voices of 'ordinary' people and women in particular. It is argued that their personalised stylistic features produce textual strategies which position the viewer as also 'participator'.

The research also involves a, broadly speaking, 'ethnographic' approach, viewing programmes with women in their homes and recording their responses alongside the text. This original methodology produces an analysis of text/audience interaction that concentrates on the motivation of a particular style of 'feminine' discourse, which can articulate the personal and private. As such, I emphasise the importance of the women's voices in the construction of the viewing experience which uniquely establishes a 'mediated conversational floor'. The research finds that through the interaction encouraged by the texts, the women respond producing their own relevant subjective experience that is significant as a modern phenomenon of self-reflexivity and identity construction.

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