Crossroads - Studies in American Culture, Band 10
Hans Borchers, Gabriele Kreutzner, Eva-Maria Warth (Hg.):
Never-Ending Stories
American Soap Operas and the Cultural Production of Meaning


Soap operas are a fairly recent, if by now a very popular, addition to German television programming. In the United States, on the other hand, the genre is almost as old as broadcasting itself. A similar contrast exists in the discourses about soap operas. While in this country writing about soap operas is as yet almost exclusively limited to newspapers, magazines and the tradepress, there has been a long history of American scholarship devoted to this important genre of U.S. network television. Once the exclusive domain of traditional mass communications research, critical interest in soap operas has recently branched out to include relevant work done in the context of film studies, literary criticism, womenís studies and popular culture criticism.

Never-Ending Stories takes its cue from the growing international significance of soap operas, a phenomenon due in large measure to the rapid expansion of commercial television. The book is not only an introduction to the major currents of pertinent Anglo-American scholarship, it also applies and explores new problematics and methodologies in the attempt to shed light on both the product and its wide popular appeal. It is divided into three parts: Production, Texts, Audiences. Approaching soap operas in historical, aesthetic and cultural terms, Never-Ending Stories provides a critical survey of the genre's changing forms from the 1930s to the present, addresses theoretical problems of studying soap operas as texts, and proposes a concept of viewers/readers as social subjects negotiating the meanings of soap operas on the basis of their specific cultural competences.

Originating from a project conducted at the University of Tübingenís American Studies Department and funded by the Volkswagen-Stiftung, Never-Ending Stories draws upon research done in the production studios and archives of the American television industry and upon extensive fieldwork including ethnographic interviews with soap opera viewers in the United States.

I. Production

Hans Borchers: Introduction

Ellen E. Seiter: Women Writing Soap Opera: The Careers of Irna Phillips and Jane Crusinberry

Gabriele Kreutzer: Inside Daytime: Manufacturing the Soap Opera World

Hans Borchers: Notes and Reflections on the Production of Soap Operas: The Example of Santa Barbara

 

II. Texts

Eva Maria Warth: Introduction

Gabriele Kreutzner: U.S. Prime Time Serials in the 1980s: A Critical Retrospective

Gabriele Kreutzner: From a Narrative Point of View: Network Television and Serial Fictions

Eva-Maria Warth: Reading about Soap Operas: The Magazine Soap Opera Digest

 

III. Audiences

Gabriele Kreutzner: Introduction

Gabriele Kreutzner / Eva-Maria Warth: "I was thirteen and my best friend got hooked": An Interview with Two Soap Opera Viewers

Gabriele Kreutzner / Eva-Maria Warth: Gendered Meanings: Soap Operas and Female Viewers

Eva-Maria Warth: "And that's my time": Soap Operas and the Temporal Organization of Womenís Everyday Lives

Hans Borchers: Television and the Problem of Intercultural Understanding: Negotiating the Meanings of American Soap Operas Abroad


ISBN 3-88476-004-1, 263 S., kt., Ä 28,00 (1994)


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