In 1983, anthropologist Richard Pace began his fieldwork in the Amazonian community of Gurupá one year after the first few television sets arrived. On a nightly basis, as the community’s electricity was turned on, he observed crowds of people lining up outside open windows or doors of the few homes possessing TV sets, intent on catching a glimpse of this fascinating novelty. Stoic, mute, and completely absorbed, they stood for hours contemplating every message and image presented. So begins the cultural turning point that is the basis of Amazon Town TV, a rich analysis of Gurupá in the decades during and following the spread of television.
Pace worked with sociologist Brian Hinote to explore the sociocultural implications of television’s introduction in this community long isolated by geographic and communication barriers. They explore how viewers change their daily routines to watch the medium; how viewers accept, miss, ignore, negotiate, and resist media messages; and how television’s influence works within the local cultural context to modify social identities, consumption patterns, and worldviews.
Around 1968, advertisers who were anxious to break into the lucrative baby-boomer demographic convinced television networks to begin to abandon prime-time programming that catered to universal audiences. With the market splintering, networks ventured into more issue-based and controversial territories. While early network attempts at more “relevant” programming failed, Ozersky examines how CBS struck gold with the political comedy All in the Family in 1971 and how other successful, conflict-based comedies turned away from typical show business conventions. As the 1970s wore on, the innovations of the previous years began to lose their public appeal. After Vietnam and Watergate, Ozersky argues, Americans were exhausted from the political turbulence of the preceding decade and were ready for a televisual “return to normalcy.”
Straightforward, engaging, and liberally illustrated, Archie Bunker’s America is peppered with the stories of outsider cops and failed variety shows, of a young Bill Murray and an old Ed Sullivan, of Mary Tyler Moore, Fonzie, and the Skipper, too. Drawing on interviews with television insiders, trade publications, and the programs themselves, Ozersky chronicles the ongoing attempts of prime-time television to program for a fragmented audience—an audience whose greatest common denominator, by 1978, may well have been the act of watching television itself. The book also includes a foreword by renowned media critic Mark Crispin Miller and an epilogue of related commentary on the following decades.
Global awareness of autism has skyrocketed since the 1980s, and popular culture has caught on, with film and television producers developing ever more material featuring autistic characters. Autism in Film and Television brings together more than a dozen essays on depictions of autism, exploring how autistic characters are signified in media and how the reception of these characters informs societal understandings of autism.
Editors Murray Pomerance and R. Barton Palmer have assembled a pioneering examination of autism’s portrayal in film and television. Contributors consider the various means by which autism has been expressed in films such as Phantom Thread, Mercury Rising, and Life Animated and in television and streaming programs including Atypical, Stranger Things, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Community. Across media, the figure of the brilliant, accomplished, and “quirky” autist has proven especially appealing. Film and television have thus staked out a progressive position on neurodiversity by insisting on screen time for autism but have done so while frequently ignoring the true diversity of autistic experience. As a result, this volume is a welcome celebration of nonjudgmental approaches to disability, albeit one that is still freighted with stereotypes and elisions.
Browse our collection.
See BiblioVault's publisher services.
Files for college accessibility offices.
UChicago Accessibility Resources
BiblioVault ® 2001 - 2023
The University of Chicago Press