Television and Transforming Lives in Asia


Console-ing Passions: Television and Cultural Power

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Book Pages: 324 Illustrations: 64 illustrations Published: September 2016

Asian Studies, Cultural Studies, Media Studies > TV

Yoga gurus on lifestyle cable channels targeting time-pressured Indian urbanites; Chinese dating shows promoting competitive individualism; Taiwanese domestic makeover formats combining feng shui with life planning advice: Asian TV screens are increasingly home to a wild proliferation of popular factual programs providing lifestyle guidance to viewers. In Telemodernities Tania Lewis, Fran Martin, and Wanning Sun demonstrate how lifestyle-oriented popular factual television illuminates key aspects of late modernities in South and East Asia, offering insights not only into early twenty-first-century media cultures but also into wider developments in the nature of public and private life, identity, citizenship, and social engagement. Drawing on extensive interviews with television industry professionals and audiences across China, India, Taiwan, and Singapore, Telemodernities uses popular lifestyle television as a tool to help us understand emergent forms of identity, sociality, and capitalist modernity in Asia.


"A welcome addition to the existing scholarly work on media and Asia studies.... Telemodernities is a nicely imagined, extensively planned and pursued study with a triangulated design, combining industry interviews with textual analyses and audience interviews." — Ying Zhu, The China Quarterly

"Telemodernities is a valuable addition to a growing body of scholarship.... A fascinatingly detailed comparative study of lifestyle television in China, India, and Taiwan, the book seeks to decenter the normative modernity of the West, interrogating instead the role television plays in constituting and interpreting multiple 'modernities.'" — Tilottama Karlekar, Feminist Media Studies

"The scope of the book is expansive, covering all three aspects of media studies: production, content, and audience analysis. The thick  description helps immensely with the goal of showing how modernities are interpreted, negotiated, and confronted in nuanced ways...." — Yang Bai, International Journal of Communication

"The authors have provided an enthralling mechanism of 'viewing' competing modernities in India, China, and Taiwan. The book is a resource for those interested in the development of television, lifestyle programming, and the multiple modernities in the world’s two largest populations." — Gloria Spittel, Pacific Affairs

"It does not just examine the impact of western television on postcolonial and local television industries, but as the authors state at the outset, their aim is to study the impact of local Asian television cultures on global media processes. . . . A much-needed intervention in the study of television in Asia and one hopes that it becomes a turning point in this field with the questions that it poses and the areas of television that it declares worthy of scholarly attention." — Kuhu Tanvir, Studies in South Asian Film & Media

"[Telemodernities] provides a convincing comparative and nuanced analysis of how lifestyle TV filters conflicting ideologies. . . . This book offers groundbreaking comparative work on South Asian television." — Daniel Keyes, Critical Studies in Television

"Focused on the uncannily familiar-yet-strange world of Indian- and Chinese-language lifestyle television, this ambitious study asks what modernity is today, now that the engine room of global change has shifted decisively away from the West. Based on years of careful audience research, textual analysis and producer interviews, the answers are never less than eye-opening and, more often than not, mind-blowing. A revelation." — Chris Berry, King’s College London

"In this groundbreaking book Tania Lewis, Fran Martin, and Wanning Sun offer a highly nuanced account of television history in India, China, and Taiwan and of emerging Asian modernities, as well as a most welcome complication of the dominant theories of globalization and neoliberalism. Emphasizing the importance of location and the specifics of national and regional contexts for television, Telemodernities has the potential to significantly change the conversation about media, modernity, and Asia." — Graeme Turner, author of Re-Inventing the Media


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Tania Lewis is Associate Professor and Deputy Dean of Research in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University (Melbourne).

Fran Martin is Associate Professor and Reader in Cultural Studies at the University of Melbourne.

Wanning Sun is Professor of Media and Communication Studies at the University of Technology Sydney.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  vii

Introduction: Telemodernities  1

1. Lifestyle Television in Context: Media Industries, Cultural Economies, and Genre Flows  25

2. Local versus Metropolitan Television in China: Stratification of Needs, Taste, and Spatial Imagination  52

3. Here, There, and Everywhere: Mediascapes, Geographic Imaginaries, and Indian Television  82

4. Imagining Global Mobility: TLC Taiwan  106

5. Gurus, Babas, and Daren: Popular Experts on Chinese and Indian Advice TV  126

6. Magical Modernities: Spiritual Advice TV in India and Taiwan  157

7. Risky Romance: Navigating Late Modern Identities and Relationships on Chinese and Indian Lifestyle TV  196

8. A Self to Believe In: Negotiating Femininities in Sinophone Lifestyle Advice TV  222

Conclusion: Negotiating Modernities through Lifestyle Television  254

Notes  271

Works Cited  281

Index  305
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-6204-3 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-6188-6
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