Although television has developed into a major agent of the transnational and global flow of information and entertainment, television historiography and scholarship largely remains a national endeavour, partly due to the fact that television has been understood as a tool for the creation of national identity. But the breaking of the quasi-monopoly of public service broadcasters all over Europe in the 1980s has changed the television landscape, and cross-border television channels - with the help of satellite and the Internet - have catapulted the relatively closed television nations into the universe of globalized media channels.
At least, this is the picture painted by the popular meta-narratives of European television history. Transnational Television History asks us to re-evaluate the function of television as a medium of nation-building in its formative years and to reassess the historical narrative that insists that European television only became transnational with the emergence of more commercial services and new technologies from the 1980s. It also questions some common assumptions in television historiography by offering some alternative perspectives on the complex processes of transnational circulation of television technology, professionals, programmes and aesthetics.
This book was originally published as a special issue of Media History.
Andreas Fickers is Associate Professor of Comparative Media History at Maastricht University, The Netherlands. He is specialised in the cultural history of communication technologies. He is co-editor of A European Television History (2008) and Materializing Europe: Transnational Infrastructures and the Project of Europe (2010).
Catherine Johnson lectures in the Department of Culture, Film and Media at the University of Nottingham, UK. Her research examines the Western television industries and the impact of industrial shifts on the cultural artefacts they produce. She is the author of Telefantasy (2005) and co-editor of ITV Cultures (2005).
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