Professor Sabina Mihelj’s new book forthcoming with Cambridge University Press
Professor Sabina Mihelj’s new book, From Media Systems to Media Cultures: Understanding Socialist Television, co-authored with Simon Huxtable, is now in production with Cambridge University Press, and will appear in the Communication, Society and Politics series in 2018.
From the book cover blurb:
In this major intervention into comparative media research, Sabina Mihelj and Simon Huxtable delve into the fascinating world of television under communism, using it to test a new framework for comparative media analysis. To understand the societal consequences of mass communication, the authors argue that we need to move beyond the analysis of media systems, and instead focus on the role of the media in shaping cultural ideals and narratives, everyday practices and routines. Drawing on a wealth of original data derived from archival sources, programme and schedule analysis, and oral history interviews, the authors show how communist authorities managed to harness the power of television to shape new habits and rituals, yet failed to inspire a deeper belief in communist ideals. Their analysis has important implications for the understanding of mass communication in non-democratic settings, and provides tools for the analysis of media cultures globally.
"In this pioneering, deeply researched and remarkably wide-ranging study, Sabina Mihelj and Simon Huxtable have brought the insights of media studies to bear on the history of socialist television. They are sensitive to cultural particularities but always alive to comparisons and connections, both between individual socialist countries and between socialist 'East' and liberal democratic 'West'. Historians and theorists of the Western media will have much to learn from this book as they reflect on their own field of study."
Stephen Lovell, King’s College, London
"This book fruitfully uses the state socialist TV landscape to reset our notions of media culture across diverse national contexts. Refracting the idea of comparative media cultures through the gaze of entangled modernities, it both complicates existing understanding of TV across Cold War environments and simplifies its recasting in terms more consonant with culture. A creative and generative study that promises to have decisive impact on how we think about comparative media cultures."
Barbie Zelizer, Raymond Williams Professor of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication
"This ambitious volume presents the findings of a multi-year research project on television in Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union, East Germany, Romania and Poland. Mihelj and Huxtable perform exemplary comparative research, shifting the emphasis from media systems to media cultures. This book makes a major contribution to the study of mass communication under authoritarian rule and a significant intervention in global communication and media research."
Aniko Imre, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
"From Media Systems to Media Cultures is a wonderful contribution to comparative media studies. It theorizes the complex and little-known world of state socialist television, and gives a richly detailed history of what television was like in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. It also provides a clear statement and a compelling example of what it means to compare media cultures, and how this is related to the study of media systems."
Daniel C. Hallin, University of California, San Diego
More information on the Screening Socialism project.