Research Articles

Television’s Liveness: A Lesson from the 1920s



This paper explores the contested concept of television’s liveness by highlighting a number of common analytical perspectives between the work of media studies scholar Paddy Scannell and my own approach to television. Outlining such connections provides a point of departure for the paper’s discussion of one of John Logie Baird’s mechanically scanned television images. Through the discussion and analysis of this image in terms of liveness, the paper argues for the need to include some consideration of television’s experimental period in contemporary television and media studies. The paper also signals the way Scannell’s body of work informs such a project. Through his theoretically and historically informed practices of media studies Scannell broadens the horizons of our engagement with media technologies, offering great possibilities for future scholarship.

Keywords: scene, surface, image, history, liveness, Television

How to Cite: Davis, W. (2017) “Television’s Liveness: A Lesson from the 1920s”, Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture. 4(2). doi: