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Make Room for TV: Television and the Family Ideal in Postwar America by Lynn Spigel
Return to Book Page. Make Room for TV: Between andnearly two-thirds of all American families bought a television set—and a revolution in social life and popular culture was launched.
In this fascinating book, Lynn Spigel chronicles the enormous impact of television in the formative years of the new medium: What did Americans expect from it?
What effects did the new daily ritual of watching television have on children? Spgiel television welcomed as an unprecedented “window on the world,” or as a “one-eyed monster” that would disrupt households and corrupt children?
Drawing on an ambitious array of unconventional sources, from sitcom scripts to articles and advertisements in women’s magazines, Spigel offers the fullest available account of the popular response to television in the postwar years. She chronicles the role of television as a focus for evolving debates on issues ranging from the ideal of the perfect family and changes in women’s role within the household to new uses of domestic space.
The arrival of television did more than turn the living room into a private theater: Spigel chronicles this lively and contentious debate as it took place in the popular media. Of particular interest is her treatment of the way in which the phenomenon of television itself was constantly deliberated—from how programs should be watched to where the set was placed to whether Mom, Dad, or kids should control the dial.
Make Room for TV combines a powerful analysis of the growth of spjgel culture with a nuanced social history of family life in postwar America, offering spige provocative glimpse of the way television maks the mirror of so many kynn America’s hopes and fears and dreams.
Paperbackpages. Published June 1st by University of Chicago Press.
Make Room for TV: Television and the Family Ideal in Postwar America
To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Make Room for TVplease sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Feb 02, William rated it liked it Shelves: In Avalonone of my very favorite movies, there is a scene in which three generations of the Krichinsky family gather in the living room to watch their new television. The Krichinskys are in the process of assimilation – Sam, now a grandfather, came to America in His son, Jules, has brought home an early television.
With the tiny screen embedded in a beautifully varnished wood cabinet, the television looks more like a piece of furniture than a revolutionary entertainment device.
Switched In Avalonone of my very favorite movies, there is a scene in which three generations of the Krichinsky family gather in the living room to watch their new television. The only image displayed on the screen is a test pattern, black and white, of course, with a slight drone or hum coming from the speaker.
Nonetheless, the family dutifully sits in front of the television, which silently lights the dim living room somewhere in Baltimore suburbia, waiting for something to happen. A cut, followed by changes in posture among the domestic audience, informs the viewer that the family has been waiting for some time. Suddenly, the screen jumps to life, the Krichinsky grandchildren scramble in front of the screen, and Howdy Doody begins. Moreover, however, Spigel demonstrates that television itself helped shape the Cold War nuclear family during a time which, as illustrated by Elaine Tyler May, Americans turned to the nuclear family for a sense of stability and control over a world seemingly teetering on the edge of atomic war.
Television certainly offers refuge, but interestingly, it seems to further a process of cultural homogenization while simultaneously walling off the family from the rest of society. Spiegl also examines the restructuring of domestic space around these new electronic hearths, noting how changes in living room furniture and even domestic architecture serve as indicators of the extent of accommodation and homogenization.
In Avalonafter the Krichinsky family negotiates the place of the television in their own suburban home, Jules and his cousin, Izzy, open a small appliance store which begins selling television sets to other families in Baltimore.
Having come to understand the role of television within their own homes, the Fod cousins are now exporting sets into the homes of their neighbors. View all 4 comments.
Make Room for TV
Jul 11, Mike Anastasia fod it really liked it. A review for my graduate school lit class. Spigel’s book is all about the importance of television in postwar American society. She makes several arguments for the derogation of family life as a result of its introduction into what she refers to as the ‘family sphere,’ but rooom also admits that TV made life easier for most families for things like news and national events.
Spigel’s main argument is that television, in conjunction with national highway systems, an unprecedented postwar boom, a lar A review for my graduate school lit class. Spigel’s main argument is that television, in conjunction with national highway systems, an gv postwar boom, a large number roo children and opportunities afforded by the Truman Doctrine spawned American suburbanization and all of the glorious descendants we enjoy today.
By putting information inside of homes, families were less likely to socialize outside and we less dependent upon word of mouth.
My favorite point Lynn makes is her notion that television replaced pianos, a cornerstone of family bonding from the Maie era through the depression. Television, according to her, replaced that central entity and began to degrade childhood interest in arts and music.
Her book isn’t entirely negative, though. Spigel also argues that television led to enormous revenue gains and suburban job growth in areas typically dominated by agrarian lifestyles.
Our world evolved from that one and, as we continue apigel rely on speedy sources of information, I fear we continue to walk the line of 50’s children no longer interested in the beauty of music and sunshine. Oh well, time for Family Guy. Mar 18, Courtney rated it really liked it.
The book covers a lot of information that I’ve already gotten from previous classes on Television, American Studies, and Women’s Studies.
So its a bit general but a good jumping off point if you decide to look into more specific books regarding television and society. Also, not overly jargony. The only thing I’d really like to add to my existing review is about the epilogue.
I read up until this section without thinking about when Spigel was researching and writi The book covers a lot of information that I’ve already gotten from previous classes on Television, American Studies, and Women’s Studies.
I read up until this section without thinking about when Spigel was researching and writing the book. It becomes apparent when she says “the new machine VCR”the source is foom The year I was born. Luckily, her arguments still hold true. Though the virtual reality mention during her epilogue made me laugh. Oct 08, Kaufmak rated it really liked it Mkae What is really interesting about Spigel’s work is ltnn it isn’t just about the programming on television, but the changes to living space that televisions brought to homes.
Even more that the radio, the television became the focal point living rooms and it helped to create additional rooms, like a family room and rec room. It became a way to experience the outside world, without leaving the private world. One has to wonder what Spigel would think of the massive home theatre set ups that are avai What mke really interesting about Spigel’s work is that it isn’t just about the programming on television, but the changes to living space that televisions brought to homes.
One has to wonder what Spigel would think of the massive home theatre set ups that are available now. The analysis of the actual programming is Seeing how makee is twenty years since the book came out, things have changed and much of her thoughts on early spugel were dated even in Even so, I can never get enough of the crisis of manhood stuff. Feb 16, Lyn rated it really liked it Shelves: Spigel identifies correspondences between popular discourses and industry practices to examine how television was naturalized as an everyday domestic technology in the American suburbs in the s.
Make Room for TV: Television and the Family Ideal in Postwar America, Spigel
A thoroughly researched, well-organized, and well-written work of media and cultural history. Jan 04, Peacegal rated it liked it. For me personally, it brought back memories of watching classic TV reruns with my grandmother. Nov 22, Hannah rated it really liked it. An in-depth analysis of the effect television had on the post-war family circle.
An interesting read for film students as well as those interested in gender studies. Knits rated it really liked it Jun 26, Sheila rated it liked it Dec 11, Laquana rated it really liked it Apr 18, Brian rated it really liked it Oct 16, Michele Davis rated it it was amazing Jun 16, Craig rated it really liked it Nov 03, Hassan Alkhedher rated it really liked it May 10, Emily rated it it was amazing Mar 10, Anne Jefferson rated it it was amazing Apr 10, Julie rated it liked it Jan 27, Amy Gourley rated it really liked it Apr 12, Henk Pechler rated it liked it Jun 07, Jessica Cooper rated it liked it Jan 08, Liz rated it it was amazing Jul 13, Jennie rated it really liked it Nov 30, Brandi rated it liked it Sep 12, Erin rated it really liked it Jun 04,