chapter  10
15 Pages

Popular television and images of urban life

In addition to a wide literature on television and soap operas in general (see, for example, Abercrombie 1996; Allen 1995; Ang 1991, 1996; Brunsdon 1997; Drummond and Paterson 1988; Livingstone 1998; Williams 1992a, 1992b), there is a growing literature on soap operas and television serials in developing country societies and the non-Western world, particularly Egypt, China and Latin America (see, for example, Abu-Lughod 1995; Allen 1995; Biltereyst and Meers 2000; Chu et al. 1991; Das 1995; Flores-Gutierrez 2000; Lopez 1995; Martin-Barbero 1995; Phillips n.d.; Rofel 1994a, 1994b, 1995; Sun 2001; Zha 1995). The general literature on soap operas sees them as primarily a women’s genre, though prime-time soaps such as Dallas are/were intended for and watched by men as well as women. This view of soaps as a ‘feminine genre’ stems from their reliance on plots which feature everyday life, domestic situations and personal social relations. These are highly personal stories. The action may be more wide-ranging than the literal domestic situation, but is always referred back to the impact of that action on the central domestic or personal relations in the story-line.