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TV Socialism

by: Anikó Imre
published by
: Duke University Press
pp: 328
ISBN: 9780822360995
price: £18.99

Book's frontpage

In TV Socialism, Anikó Imre provides an innovative history of television in socialist Europe during and after the Cold War. Rather than uniform propaganda programming, Imre finds rich evidence of hybrid aesthetic and economic practices, including frequent exchanges within the region and with Western media, a steady production of varied genre entertainment, elements of European public service broadcasting, and transcultural, multi-lingual reception practices. These televisual practices challenge conventional understandings of culture under socialism, divisions between East and West, and the divide between socialism and postsocialism. Taking a broad regional perspective encompassing Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, Imre foregrounds continuities between socialist television and the region’s shared imperial histories, including the programming trends, distribution patterns, and reception practices that extended into postsocialism. Television, she argues, is key to understanding European socialist cultures and to making sense of developments after the end of the Cold War and the enduring global legacy of socialism.


Table of contents

Introduction. Why Do We Need to Talk about Socialism and TV?

Part I. Genres of Realism and Reality
1. From Socialist Realism to Emotional Realism
2. Tele-education
3. Crime Appeal
4. The Great Socialist Game (Show)
5. Postsocialist Ethno-Racial Reality TV

Part II. Genres of History
6. The Historical Adventure Drama
7. Postsocialist Nostalgia and European Historical Drama
8. Commercials as Time-Space Machines

Part III. Genres of Fiction
9. Women and TV
10. Socialist Soaps

Part IV. Genres of Humor
11. Socialist Comedy
12. (Post)socialist Political Satire

Afterword. Afterward

About the Author

Anikó Imre is Associate Professor and Chair of Critical Studies in the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. She is the author of Identity Games: Globalization and the Transformation of Media Cultures in the New Europe.


“TV Socialism is a comprehensive and highly original contribution to television studies, and it will become indispensable in socialist/postsocialist studies. Anikó Imre’s scholarship is superior and her book is outstanding in its breadth and depth of coverage.”
—Kristen Ghodsee, author of The Left Side of History: World War II and the Unfulfilled Promise of Communism in Eastern Europe

"Cautioning us against simplistic uses of Anglo-American categories of television genres, Anikó Imre explains how the industry definitions of genre and audience expectations of genres evolved very differently in socialist societies. By defining genre as a 'transcultural form of expression' rather than as a given set of conventions, Imre demonstrates how the genric logic of television is embedded in the aesthetic, political, cultural, and ideological transformations in socialist and postsocialist societies."
— Shanti Kumar, author of Gandhi Meets Primetime: Globalization and Nationalism in Indian Television


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