Family Television: Cultural Power and Domestic Leisure

By David Morley | Go to book overview

5

Family interviews

(i)

Unemployed families

Family 1

This couple are both twenty-seven years old with a boy aged five and a girl aged two. Both husband and wife left school at sixteen. He is an unemployed ex-caretaker; she does childminding at home for other mothers in their street. They are tenants in a large council estate and have lived in this area for some years, near to their relatives. They are both Labour voters. Their flat is quite shabby and their possessions are few. They rent one colour television set and a video (which they are now tempted to return, given their financial difficulties) and haven't had a holiday in the last twelve months.

The woman does childminding at home and she uses the television and video a great deal to help amuse the children during the day. In fact, their television is on all day, from TV-am in the morning: “My reaction at the start of the day is to put it on, and I might as well not. Sometimes I intend to look at it…but it's so early in the morning… at the end of it I've seen everything but I've heard nothing. You know what I mean?” As the woman puts it, they watch television: “quite a lot, yeah. Well I put it on for stuff in the mornings because…well, I do childminding. I've a child who comes from the children's centre likes to watch television. She's just here by herself. She watches then, and it's on in the afternoon, and it's on for children's TV and it just stays on then. Then they go to bed and we watch it-but it's mainly on because of the kids.”

Clearly she worries a little about how much time the children spend watching television but it “helps a lot” to have that to “keep them quiet”, and she does feel that some programmes are “good for them”. “Well, for the kids it's virtually the same thing day in, day out and we have the television on anyway. I mean, they're quite interested in television and sometimes they look at it so much that you wouldn't know if it's good for them or not. Well, they tend to sit and just stare at it, you know. Yes, it's nice to keep them quiet but…it is distracting them occasionally…it helps a lot…and some of the programmes are good for them actually.”

-56-

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Family Television: Cultural Power and Domestic Leisure
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 1
  • Acknowledgements 3
  • Contents 5
  • Introduction 7
  • Foreword 11
  • 1 - Understanding the Uses of Television 13
  • 2 - Television in the Family 18
  • 3 - Research Development: from 'Decoding' to Viewing Context 40
  • 4 - Objectives, Methodology and Sample Design 50
  • 5 - Family Interviews 56
  • 6 - Television and Gender 146
  • Afterword 174
  • Notes 176
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