Volume 12, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1387-6740
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9935
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This paper examines narrative representations of “race” and gender in daytime television talk shows. This television genre is saturated with told stories; indeed, it often seems to be these stories that account for the genre’s critical and academic dismissal, despite its fifteen-year dominance in daytime television, particularly in the US. The genre is also characterised by visual patterns that have narrative features. Disparities have been claimed between “serious” shows that try to analyse social issues and tell “true stories,” and “entertainment” shows in which issues of gender, “race” and sexuality are subsumed by stories of “trailer park” class otherness and emotional anarchy. The paper draws on social-scientific and cultural-studies research, and on two small, time-sampled groups of US shows, to argue for a continuum between serious and entertainment shows. It suggests that serious shows are also characterised by story-telling and moments of emotional incoherence in narrative, and that these elements can be as resistant and persuasive as the shows’ more explicit arguments. On the other hand, entertainment shows can provide a forum for the affective staging of social conflicts, in the process turning their narratives into counter-narratives that are a form of theory. The paper thus argues that visual and auditory narratives on all the shows work in similar ways to produce counternarratives.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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