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Title: The cultural world of TV comedy audiences : gender, nationality and humour
Author: Bore, Inger-Lise Kalviknes
ISNI:       0000 0004 2676 9563
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis is a qualitative study of TV comedy audiences. Based on a series of 25 focus groups with middle-class, adult viewers in Britain and Norway, it provides comparative analysis across participant gender and nationality. Each focus group discussion was based around the screening of two British programmes and two Norwegian programmes. These included sitcoms The Office (BBC2 / BBC1,2001-2003) and Nissene pä Läven (TVNorge, 2001), as well as sketch shows Smack the Pony (Channel 4,1999-2003) and Melonas (NRK1, 2001-2006). The programmes were used to encourage talk around male and female performers, comedic genres, and the international trade in TV comedy. My analysis of this talk employs a theoretical framework integrating theories of humour and comedy (eg., Cook, 1982; Mills, 2005) with social constructionist approaches to gender (eg., Crawford, 2003) and nationality (eg., Anderson, 1991). Conceptualising audience engagement with TV comedy as a "culturally figured world" (Holland et al., 1998: 52), the thesis examines how focus group discussions structured this world through discourses of gender and nationality. While my analysis identifies few marked differences in terms of how male and female participants constructed their own audience engagement, it demonstrates that discussions tended to marginalise female comedy performers and limit the appeal of shows centred around women. This can be seen to reinforce the patriarchal notion of humour production as a masculine practice. Shifting the focus from gender to nationality, I then consider how national contexts affected participant talk around TV comedy, and underline a recurring opposition between British and US comedy. While this tended to privilege British comedy, I also highlight exceptions to this pattern. Finally, the analysis compares national and transnational participant engagement with the case study programmes, and discusses differences in relation to genre and the textual combination of "universal" and nationally specific elements (Gentikow, 2006).
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available