TV talk in a London Punjabi peer culture
This thesis examines how 16-18 year-olds in a London Punjabi peer culture talk about television. Based upon two years' ethnographic fieldwork in Southall, west London, it is argued, firstly, that shared experiences of television inform and shape the content and, in some cases, the form of everyday communicative interactions among young people; secondly, that TV is a resource which is mined selectively and used creatively to provide shared but differentiated ways of talking about self, others and their positions in the world; thirdly, that 'TV talk' involves the negotiation of relations within and between parental and peer cultures, the articulation of cultural differences and the expression of aspirations toward cultural change. The analysis is organised around four TV genres. in the peer culture studied, the ability to discuss TV news is perceived as a function of emergent adulthood. In talking about TV advertisements young people establish, critique and endorse hierarchies of taste and style, for example, in what they drink, eat and wear. TV comedy talk, examined in the wider context of the social functions of humour, brings into the realm of speech that which is seen as 'absurd', 'subversive' and 'unspeakable'. It bears, perhaps, the most impressive witness to the role of TV as an enabler of talk. Finally, in their everyday discussions of the soap opera 'Neighbours', young people draw parallels between gossip and rumour in their local neighbourhood and in the soap. The essential argument of the thesis is that TV talk, as an integral; part of everyday talk, binds people together, contributes to their; shared culture and to patterns of sociability, and generates social and collective processes of interpretation and reception beyond the domestic context of viewing. The social reception of TV through shared talk is both a creative act and a manipulated one. It can reflect what is real already; create what is as yet unknown; enable discussion of taboo subjects and make it possible to say what is absurd or unthinkable.