TV viewing as good citizenship? Political rationality, enlightened democracy and PBS

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Abstract

This article draws on theories of political rationality, governmentality and cultural policy as well as historical analysis to examine how a philosophy of 'enlightened democracy' informed the historical formation of PBS. I analyse its early campaign to turn TV viewers into active citizens and show how the citizen subjectivities constructed presupposed a set of knowledge-power relations defined and managed by 'opinion leaders'. Following a cultural studies approach I analyse policy and popular discourses to show how requirements of professionalism, reason, civility and detached objectivity served as a means of differentiating good citizens and as a form of social control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)62-90
Number of pages29
JournalCultural Studies
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1999

Keywords

  • Citizenship
  • Cultural policy
  • Enlightened democracy
  • Political rationality
  • Public affairs
  • Public television

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