Make Room for TV: Television and the Family Ideal in Postwar America

Make Room for TV Television and the Family Ideal in Postwar America Between and nearly two thirds of all American families bought a television set and a revolution in social life and popular culture was launched In this fascinating book Lynn Spigel chronic

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  • Title: Make Room for TV: Television and the Family Ideal in Postwar America
  • Author: Lynn Spigel
  • ISBN: 9780226769677
  • Page: 294
  • Format: Paperback
  • Between 1948 and 1955, nearly two thirds of all American families bought a television set and a revolution in social life and popular culture was launched.In this fascinating book, Lynn Spigel chronicles the enormous impact of television in the formative years of the new medium how, over the course of a single decade, television became an intimate part of everyday life WBetween 1948 and 1955, nearly two thirds of all American families bought a television set and a revolution in social life and popular culture was launched.In this fascinating book, Lynn Spigel chronicles the enormous impact of television in the formative years of the new medium how, over the course of a single decade, television became an intimate part of everyday life What did Americans expect from it What effects did the new daily ritual of watching television have on children Was television welcomed as an unprecedented window on the world, or as a one eyed monster that would disrupt households and corrupt children Drawing on an ambitious array of unconventional sources, from sitcom scripts to articles and advertisements in women s magazines, Spigel offers the fullest available account of the popular response to television in the postwar years She chronicles the role of television as a focus for evolving debates on issues ranging from the ideal of the perfect family and changes in women s role within the household to new uses of domestic space The arrival of television did than turn the living room into a private theater it offered a national stage on which to play out and resolve conflicts about the way Americans should live.Spigel chronicles this lively and contentious debate as it took place in the popular media Of particular interest is her treatment of the way in which the phenomenon of television itself was constantly deliberated from how programs should be watched to where the set was placed to whether Mom, Dad, or kids should control the dial.Make Room for TV combines a powerful analysis of the growth of electronic culture with a nuanced social history of family life in postwar America, offering a provocative glimpse of the way television became the mirror of so many of America s hopes and fears and dreams.

    One thought on “Make Room for TV: Television and the Family Ideal in Postwar America”

    1. In Avalon, one of my very favorite movies, there is a scene in which three generations of the Krichinsky family gather in the living room to watch their new television. The Krichinskys are in the process of assimilation - Sam, now a grandfather, came to America in 1914. His son, Jules, has brought home an early television. With the tiny screen embedded in a beautifully varnished wood cabinet, the television looks more like a piece of furniture than a revolutionary entertainment device. Switched [...]

    2. A review for my graduate school lit class. Spigel's book is all about the importance of television in postwar American society. She makes several arguments for the derogation of family life as a result of its introduction into what she refers to as the 'family sphere,' but she also admits that TV made life easier for most families for things like news and national events. Spigel's main argument is that television, in conjunction with national highway systems, an unprecedented postwar boom, a lar [...]

    3. The book covers a lot of information that I've already gotten from previous classes on Television, American Studies, and Women's Studies. So its a bit general but a good jumping off point if you decide to look into more specific books regarding television and society. Also, not overly jargony. I give it a 3.5/5.Second reading:The only thing I'd really like to add to my existing review is about the epilogue. I read up until this section without thinking about when Spigel was researching and writi [...]

    4. What is really interesting about Spigel's work is that it isn't just about the programming on television, but the changes to living space that televisions brought to homes. Even more that the radio, the television became the focal point living rooms and it helped to create additional rooms, like a family room and rec room. It became a way to experience the outside world, without leaving the private world. One has to wonder what Spigel would think of the massive home theatre set ups that are avai [...]

    5. Spigel identifies correspondences between popular discourses and industry practices to examine how television was naturalized as an everyday domestic technology in the American suburbs in the 1950s. A thoroughly researched, well-organized, and well-written work of media and cultural history.

    6. 3.5 stars -- While occasionally dry, this study of TV's impact upon the late 1940s/early 1950s American household is important reading. For me personally, it brought back memories of watching classic TV reruns with my grandmother. "I Married Joan" was a particular favorite.

    7. An in-depth analysis of the effect television had on the post-war family circle. An interesting read for film students as well as those interested in gender studies.

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