In his essay, “Where the Global Meets the Local: Notes From the Sitting Room,” David Morley offers a reasonable proposition under a sprawling thicket of scholarly references and sophisticated rhetoric. His proposition – and the argument of the essay – is that detailed “domestic” or “local” studies of media consumption will help scholars “effectively grasp the significance of the processes of globalization and localization […] which have been widely identified as central to contemporary […] culture” (1). Later on Morley will state his contention in different terms, declaring that private domestic realms (like TV sitting rooms) can help us understand “the constitutive dynamics of abstractions such as ‘the community’ or ‘the nation’,” and especially if we're concerned with “the role of communications in the continuous formation, sustenance, recreation and transformation of these entities” – essentially, he suggests that broadcasting allows for an interfacing between public and private realms, and that broad questions of ideology, power, and politics can be understood by studying the consumption, uses, and functions of television in everyday life (12, 5). In order to reckon with television’s ideological role, its ritualistic function, and the processes of its social consumption, what’s needed, according to Morley, is a methodological approach that understands all of these issues as being integrated.
This call for a fresh methodological approach harmonizes with the inward-gazing tenor of the other two articles for this week. Michael Curtin, in “Thinking Globally: From Media Imperialism to Media Capital,” offers an overview of international media industries research before turning to recent literature on globalization to provide “context for explaining key principles” that help us think globally about media industries (109). Trafficking primarily in overviews and contextualization, Curtin’s article seems more concerned with outlining the terms for analysis rather than embarking on that analytical endeavor. Meanwhile, Shanti Kumar’s article, “Is There Anything Called Global Television Studies,” is plainly obsessed with how the discipline of global television studies has been and will continue to be cultivated. It’s a limited sample size, but all of the pieces for this week display disciplinary self-consciousness in lieu of aesthetic analysis. Fields of study of course have room for (and are strengthened by) such work, but it does seem curious that Morley neglects to mention analyses of particular programs in his call for an “integrated” methodological approach to global television studies. Peter asked questions about this scholarly trend in his post about last week’s articles, but the discussion might be even more apt for this week. In a scholarly culture that focuses on global media practitioners and the practices of production, distribution, and consumption (rather than experience), aesthetics get short shrift – my question is whether this might be a purposeful attempt by television studies to further dissociate from its disciplinary lineage (literary and cinema studies).