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Appears in Collections:eTheses from Faculty of Arts and Humanities legacy departments
Title: Television, national identity and the public sphere - a comparative study of Scottish and Catalan discussion programmes
Author(s): Terribas i Sala, Monica
Issue Date: 1994
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: This project examines questions of national identity and democracy in television through the analysis of the production processes of audience discussion programmes. The study of television debates, as public spaces through which members of particular communities discuss topics of common concern, shed some light on two different questions. On the one hand, this project explores whether the (re)construction of national and cultural identity intervenes in the process of programme-making within stateless nations. On the other hand, audience discussion programmes are examined to assess whether they can function as democratic spheres of social representation in the media. These two strands of research are developed through ethnographic insights into two television debates: Scottish Women - produced by the commercial company Scottish Television (STV), and La Vida en un Xip - transmitted through the. Catalan public television channel TV3 and produced by the production company DCo.S.A. A comparative study of these two programmes and their respective broadcasting contexts is provided. Also, the distinctive political status of Scotland and Catalonia within their respective states - Britain and Spain - and the European and international contexts, is examined in relation to the media. The current debates concerning nationalism, the nation and national identity are discussed on the basis of culture as the essential element of the nation-building process. This study explores the process of cultural identity fonnation in Scotland and Catalonia and the role of their respective media structures as potential actors in the (re)construction of collective identities. Thus, the analysis of television production is regarded as a key instrument with which to assessh ow this medium intervenesi n such processes. Audience discussion programmes are examined as television formats with the potential for providing a democratic public sphere in the media. An expansion of the concept of the public sphere, its transformation and its role in contemporary societies is, therefore, essential to develop this argument. Also, the relation between television debates and the community is explored through a survey carried out amongst participants of Scottish Women and La Vida en un Xip. This work provides media studies with some keys to evaluate the role of television debates in the delicate political make-up of two nations without a state, Scotland and Catalonia. Questions of national and cultural identity are crucial to the policy-making of their respective broadcasting, industries. Yet, such questions are difficult to distinguish and define in their programming. The comparative analysis of the two case studies reveals that every person involved in television making reflects to a certain extent his/her own perceptions of the country, and therefore, television debates mirror the ambiguities that may lie behind them. This study provides some clues to reformulate the concept of the 'public sphere' on the basis of a 'dissection' of television production procedures. The findings also reveal the economic, political and social criteria that develop audience discussion programmes into spheres of entertainment rather than rational communicative environments in which a public sphere could function. The concepts of national identity and the public sphere are framed in the context of contemporary societies, in which post-modem values are eroding the role and interest of the individual in the political process.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: School of Arts and Humanities
Department of Film and Media Studies

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