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Producing Public Television, Producing Public Culture

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Producing Public Television, Producing Public Culture Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

From 1989 to 1991, Barry Dornfeld had an unusual double role on the crew of the major PBS documentary series Childhood. As a researcher for the series, he investigated the relationship between children and media. As an anthropologist, however, his subject was the television production process itself--examining, for example, how producers developed the series, negotiated with their academic advisors, and shaped footage shot around the world into seven programs. He presents the results of his fieldwork in this groundbreaking study--one of the first to take an ethnographic approach to the production of a television show, as opposed to its reception.

Dornfeld begins with a broad discussion of public television's role in American culture and goes on to examine documentaries as a form of popular anthropology. Drawing on his observations of Childhood, he considers the documentary form as a kind of "imagining," in which both producers and viewers construct understandings of themselves and others, revealing their conceptions of culture and history and their ideologies of cultural difference and universality. He argues that producers of culture should also be understood as consumers who conduct their work through an active envisioning of the audience. Dornfeld explores as well how intellectual media professionals struggle with the institutional and cultural forces surrounding television that promote entertainment at the expense of education. The book provides a rare glimpse behind the scenes of a major documentary and demonstrates the value of an ethnographic approach to the study of media production.

Synopsis:

From 1989 to 1991, Barry Dornfeld had an unusual double role on the crew of the major PBS documentary series Childhood. As a researcher for the series, he investigated the relationship between children and media. As an anthropologist, however, his subject was the television production process itself--examining, for example, how producers developed the series, negotiated with their academic advisors, and shaped footage shot around the world into seven programs. He presents the results of his fieldwork in this groundbreaking study--one of the first to take an ethnographic approach to the production of a television show, as opposed to its reception.

Dornfeld begins with a broad discussion of public television's role in American culture and goes on to examine documentaries as a form of popular anthropology. Drawing on his observations of Childhood, he considers the documentary form as a kind of "imagining," in which both producers and viewers construct understandings of themselves and others, revealing their conceptions of culture and history and their ideologies of cultural difference and universality. He argues that producers of culture should also be understood as consumers who conduct their work through an active envisioning of the audience. Dornfeld explores as well how intellectual media professionals struggle with the institutional and cultural forces surrounding television that promote entertainment at the expense of education. The book provides a rare glimpse behind the scenes of a major documentary and demonstrates the value of an ethnographic approach to the study of media production.

Synopsis:

From 1989 to 1991, Barry Dornfeld had a double role on the crew of the major PBS documentary series CHILDHOOD. As a researcher, he investigated the relationship between children and media. As an anthropologist, his subject was the production process. Here Dornfeld provides a rare glimpse behind the scenes of a major documentary. 40 photos.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Ch. 1Studying Public Television as American Public Culture3
Ch. 2Childhood on the Contested Territory of Public Television in the United States35
Ch. 3Negotiating Documentary Production: Authorship and Imagined Audiences61
Ch. 4Public Television Documentary Poetics89
Ch. 5Cutting across Cultures: Public Television Documentary and Representations of Otherness140
Ch. 6Public Television Documentary and the Mediation of American Public Culture168
App. AOrganizational chart of the Childhood Staff189
App. BList of Academic Observers and Advisors191
App. CSynopsis of the Childhood Series193
Notes197
References221
Filmography234
Index237

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691044675
Author:
Dornfeld, Barry
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Location:
Princeton, N.J. :
Subject:
Ethnology
Subject:
Anthropology - Cultural
Subject:
Television - Guides & Reviews
Subject:
Television - History & Criticism
Subject:
Public television
Subject:
Documentary television programs
Subject:
Anthropology - General
Subject:
Anthropology
Subject:
Film Studies
Subject:
Sociology
Subject:
Film and Television-Media Studies
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
July 1998
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Illustrations:
2 charts 40 halftones
Pages:
248
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 14 oz

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » Critics
Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » Media Studies
History and Social Science » Anthropology » Cultural Anthropology
Reference » Science Reference » Technology

Producing Public Television, Producing Public Culture New Trade Paper
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Product details 248 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691044675 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , From 1989 to 1991, Barry Dornfeld had an unusual double role on the crew of the major PBS documentary series Childhood. As a researcher for the series, he investigated the relationship between children and media. As an anthropologist, however, his subject was the television production process itself--examining, for example, how producers developed the series, negotiated with their academic advisors, and shaped footage shot around the world into seven programs. He presents the results of his fieldwork in this groundbreaking study--one of the first to take an ethnographic approach to the production of a television show, as opposed to its reception.

Dornfeld begins with a broad discussion of public television's role in American culture and goes on to examine documentaries as a form of popular anthropology. Drawing on his observations of Childhood, he considers the documentary form as a kind of "imagining," in which both producers and viewers construct understandings of themselves and others, revealing their conceptions of culture and history and their ideologies of cultural difference and universality. He argues that producers of culture should also be understood as consumers who conduct their work through an active envisioning of the audience. Dornfeld explores as well how intellectual media professionals struggle with the institutional and cultural forces surrounding television that promote entertainment at the expense of education. The book provides a rare glimpse behind the scenes of a major documentary and demonstrates the value of an ethnographic approach to the study of media production.

"Synopsis" by , From 1989 to 1991, Barry Dornfeld had a double role on the crew of the major PBS documentary series CHILDHOOD. As a researcher, he investigated the relationship between children and media. As an anthropologist, his subject was the production process. Here Dornfeld provides a rare glimpse behind the scenes of a major documentary. 40 photos.
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