5-7 July 2023

Behind the Scenes and Screens: People and Power in Television

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Television continues to be a key site through which social and cultural power dynamics play out: behind the scenes, television struggles with traditional hierarchies that favour dominant discourses and people with multiple points of privilege. This is due to casualisation and long working hours remaining unsustainable for people for a number of reasons including caring responsibilities, non-normative bodies, or lower economic backgrounds. The onslaught on public service broadcasters who have a responsibility to become more inclusive (even if they often struggle with doing so), is unlikely to make this better. On screen, those productions that cater to already privileged audiences tend to be those allocated the highest budgets. This leaves people from less privileged backgrounds often under- or less well served.  In addition, audiences particularly affected by cost of living crises are unlikely to be able to pay for the plethora of subscription services that are thought to currently drive the renewal of television (Lotz, 2018). What this makes visible is that although we may now have less work to do to point to the cultural relevancy and value of (some) television, the field of television studies cannot afford to lose track of the question of power when examining its many sites of cultural production. At this year’s Critical Studies in Television conference, we therefore want to place particular attention onto questions of power in relation to television as a social and cultural form. We invite papers, panels, posters, screenings, video essays, roundtables, and any other form of contribution on any aspect of television, but will prioritise contributions that engage with these questions of power. This includes both critiques as well as examples of good practice. Indicative – but not exhaustive – areas that could be examined are:

Speakers are coming from across the globe and give us insight into representations, audiences, working patterns and many more aspects.

Keynote: Prof. Sarita Malik

‘Behind the Scenes’: An analysis and problematisation of racialised terminology within UK broadcasting organisational discourse

Please find the Conference Programme here.

The 2022 Conference can still be accessed via the Edge Hill University Research Institutes YouTube Channel.