Insegnamento a.a. 2017-2018



Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English

Go to class group/s: 31
CLEACC (6 credits - I sem. - OBS  |  L-ART/06)
Course Director:

Classes: 31 (I sem.)

Course Objectives

It can be said that television has its own personality, given by the kind of stories it tells and the way it tells them. Television has a particular coscience too, as theorized by Lauren Zalaznick, because of its extraordinary capability to perceive the spirit of time – the zeitgeist – and give it back to the audience very precisely. And since the very beginning this personality and this conscience have always identified television and distinguish it from other media.
But in the television field the contemporary digital revolution – through video-on-demand and binge watching - is changing not only the way stories are told and consumed but the stories themselves, and in the end of the day also the relation – since the beginning crucial and very close – between the medium and the historical time. What if television is changing his deepest mind? What if we are calling TV something that is not television anymore?
The course primary objective is to provide students with the basic tools for reading the complex spectrum of television storytelling, from themes to languages to visual semiotics, and therefore guide their usage as a function towards a precise understanding of the relations which tie up programs – with a focus on entertainment - and their historical, social, cultural, economic and political context, in order to promote the research, the discovery and the awareness of the most effective and in some ways most controversial constitutive data of the mind of television and its mutation generated by new technologies and new consumption behaviors.

Intended Learning Outcomes
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Course Content Summary

Designed on theoretical/critical bases linked with cultural studies and sociology, and with a particular attention to entertainment programs (from X-Factor to How I met your mother, from The wheel of fortune to Black Mirror), the course works on two load-bearing theoretical axes.
The first is horizontal, and it moves between past and present: languages and mechanisms of television comunication are analyzed in relation to their evolution in time, from a world dominate by the daily schedule until the recent binge watching, with an emphasis on the communication nuances that most impact the audience and have contributed in the course of time to vest the medium with a symbolic function, capable of amplifying reality and directing its perception.
The second is vertical, and it moves between specifics and big pictures: the focus is continuously shift from the thinnest features of some television programs to the general overview of the medium storytelling, in order to investigate the deepest mind that moves the television ecosystem, and its mutations.

Teaching methods
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Assessment methods
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Detailed Description of Assessment Methods

The exam program is different for attending and non attending students. Detailed information about exams and assignments is communicated at the beginning of the course.


The bibliography is communicated at the beginning of the course.

Exam textbooks & Online Articles (check availability at the Library)


The course does not require proficiency in communication, mass media, contemporary history or politics, but it does demand a genuine interest in all these subjects.

Last change 27/04/2017 10:46