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Scripted Affects, Branded Selves: Television, Subjectivity, and Capitalism in 1990s Japanby Gabriella Lukacs
Synopses & Reviews
In Scripted Affects, Branded Selves, Gabriella Lukács analyzes the development of a new primetime serial called “trendy drama” as the Japanese television industry’s ingenious response to market fragmentation. Much like the HBO hit Sex and the City, trendy dramas feature well-heeled young sophisticates enjoying consumer-oriented lifestyles while managing their unruly love lives. Integrating a political-economic analysis of television production with reception research, Lukács suggests that the trendy drama marked a shift in the Japanese television industry from offering story-driven entertainment to producing lifestyle-oriented programming. She interprets the new televisual preoccupation with consumer trends not as a sign of the medium’s downfall, but as a savvy strategy to appeal to viewers who increasingly demand entertainment that feels more personal than mass-produced fare. After all, what the producers of trendy dramas realized in the late 1980s was that taste and lifestyle were sources of identification that could be manipulated to satisfy mass and niche demands more easily than could conventional marketing criteria such as generation or gender. Lukács argues that by capitalizing on the semantic fluidity of the notion of lifestyle, commercial television networks were capable of uniting viewers into new affective alliances that, in turn, helped them bury anxieties over changing class relations in the wake of the prolonged economic recession.
"Trendy dramas showcasing the hip lifestyles of young Tokyo sophisticates were a powerful television genre during Japan's watershed decade of the 1990s. Gabriella Lukacs artfully weaves an analysis of the production and content of the genre programming with an analysis of the lifestyles and work ways of its viewers. She shows how this television programming is forging new selves, a new economy, and a new society. The result is a remarkably new way in which anthropology can engage television and a critical contribution to our understanding of Japan's current transformation."--William W. Kelly, Yale University
Focused on a highly popular Japanese TV genre (the "trendy drama"), Lukacs offers an ethnography of the Japanese TV industry and Japanese consumer culture that shows how these entities were transformed in the 1990s and into the present.
An exploration of Japan s television culture focused on primetime serials called trendy dramas, popular primetime serials featuring. well-heeled young sophisticates enjoying consumer-oriented lifestyles.
About the Author
“Scripted Affects, Branded Selves is destined to become a classic. Gabriella Lukács skillfully combines textual analysis of specific dramas with ethnographic study of television producers and consumers. In addition, she offers penetrating insight into the complex dialectic of global and local new media landscapes. What appears to be an insular national space of contemporary Japanese television culture is in fact thoroughly under the influence of global capitalism and the internationalization of cultural consumption.”—Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto, New York University
“Trendy dramas showcasing the hip lifestyles of young Tokyo sophisticates were a powerful television genre during Japan’s watershed decade of the 1990s. Gabriella Lukács artfully weaves an analysis of the production and content of the genre programming with an analysis of the lifestyles and work ways of its viewers. She shows how this television programming is forging new selves, a new economy, and a new society. The result is a remarkably new way in which anthropology can engage television and a critical contribution to our understanding of Japan’s current transformation.”—William W. Kelly, Yale University
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Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » Media Studies