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Special Collection

Television Studies

Collection launched: 28 Jun 2019

Close ties between the public sector and television in specific localities are reflected in several articles in Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture. Two very widely read contributions in WPCC focused respectively on television in Southwest China (Xin Zhang) and on the battle for the control of a local television station (Sun Wusan) in a Northern region of the same country. More recently Chinese news channels operating in Latin America were the focus of Pablo Sebastian Morales's analysis of one strand of international Chinese television strategy well away from local audiences. Policy was also to the fore in Nick Herd's examination of trade liberalisation and the television sector in Australia whereas Susan Bye's reflections on audience innocence and experience is linked to the long arc of Australian national identity creation and consolidation. Indeed the paradoxes of TV policy for a nation 'yet to be born' (the case of Palestine described by Helga Tawil-Souri) highlights how television can be central to debates around 'peripheral' national identities as with research by Mirta Varela linking both to Argentinian modernity in another example of the significant strand of media history evident in the journal's pages. Another is Sharon Sharaf's consideration of the collision of a global sitcom format with debates around Western cultural 'contamination' in Israel, 1982-86. UK television history is reflected in two perennial but still very relevant topics: government interference in the BBC during the Suez Crisis of 1956 and over The War Game (Peter Goodwin) and the silencing and underplaying of womens' contribution to television in the corporation's production and programming for female audiences in the case of Doreen Stephens that Mary Irwin recounts. Television's power to mould opinions and dreams is amply demonstrated in analysis of how watching Italian television (Nick Mai) motivated young Albanians to dream of, and take steps towards, a 'more modern' life overseas whereas Suzanne Franks laments declining Western TV news coverage of sub-Saharan Africa and how what little there was has framed perceptions of the continent only as a tale of 'disaster and conflict'. In the UK a different aspect of televisual power unleashed is discussed in Anthony McNicholas's work on the launch of Eastenders in 1985 , a 'significant moment' in British cultural history when the 'the private lives of relatively minor characters, as much as their on screen personas became public property'. Arguably televisual celebrity has never been the same since.

WPCC has never shied away from the industrial and management aspects of television with research such as articles on China's switch to digital (Michael Starks) and the rise of its independent production companies (Bonnie Rui Liu). As digital technology has ramped up the opportunities and complexities of the television market Sabine Basumann and Tim C. Hasenpusch in 2017 were on hand to consider the business models and definitions relating to multi-platform television services in an entire issue focusing on the disruptions to commercial media environments and their management. An entirely different approach focused was Paul Smith's assessment of the application of competition law to the vexed area of TV broadcasting regulation. Yet how television 'technologies can become so intensely meaningful for people' from a phenomenological angle (inspired by Paddy Scannell's work) is the theme considered in Lars Nyre's reflections on TV technology and 'What Happens When I Turn on the TV Set?'. For the 'experimental' period of television in the 1920s likewise Wendy Davis draws on Scannell's work to debate the idea of its 'liveness' within a WPCC issue considering the media and phenomenology.

As television contends with an increasingly fractured digital media environment WPCC looks forward to further contributions reflecting these varied traditions and an even wider array of approaches, theoretical work and case studies, in issues yet to come.