ERIC Number: ED240642
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Nov-11
Reference Count: 0
A Structuralist Approach to Television Criticism.
Although television is highly dependent on language and semiotic analysis, its form can best be analyzed through the structural notion of transformation. The critic's task becomes the articulation of structural laws intrinsic to television. One such law has to do with how television structures time. Television programming transforms action into half-hour or hour-long episodes that can continue over several nights, weeks, months or years, sometimes in a simple sequence of recurrent patterns, sometimes incrementally, and sometimes even by repeating individual segments. The structural coherence of the individual episodes allows the audience closure, the ability to put together the parts of a greater whole. Instead of a compression, in a literary sense, of character development, usually unfolding over a period of two hours, serialization demands repetition and expansion. It diminishes the need for resolution and shifts the emphasis to process. The use of temporal structure also helps build a web of connections that enlarges and complicates characters and allows for sustained thematic treatment. Given the current linguistic bias in semiotics, such considerations of television's aesthetic structure would most likely slip through the semiologist's analytic net. Structuralism as a methodological tool, therefore, must be rescued from the semiologists if it is going to be useful in television criticism. (HOD)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Television Criticism
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (69th, Washington, DC, November 10-13, 1983).