Family Television: Cultural Power and Domestic Leisure

By David Morley | Go to book overview

6

Television and gender

The interviews identified the following major themes, which recur across the interviews with the different families, where I can point to a reasonable degree of consistency of response. Clearly, the one structural principle working across all the families interviewed is that of gender. These interviews raise important questions about the effects of gender in terms of:

power and control over programme choice;

viewing style;

planned and unplanned viewing;

amounts of viewing;

television-related talk;

use of video;

“solo” viewing and guilty pleasures;

programme type preference;

channel preference;

national versus local news programming;

comedy preferences.

Before going on to detail my findings under these particular headings I would first like to make some general points about the significance of the empirical differences which my research revealed between the viewing habits of the men and women in the sample. As will be seen below, the men and women offer clearly contrasting accounts of their viewing habits-in terms of their differential power to choose what they view, how much they view, their viewing styles and their choice of particular viewing material. However, I am not suggesting that these empirical differences are attributes of their essential biological characteristics as men and women. Rather, I am trying to argue that these differences are the effects of the particular social roles that these men and women occupy within the home. Moreover, as I have indicated, this sample primarily consists of lower middle-class and working-class nuclear families (all of whom are white) and I am not suggesting that the particular pattern of gender relations within the home found here (with all the consequences which that pattern has for viewing behaviour) would necessarily be replicated either in nuclear families from a different class or ethnic background, or in

-146-

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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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