Television Genres in the Age of Abundance

Television Genres in the Age of Abundance


n. 3/2015 - Edited by Massimo Scaglioni and Ira Wagman

The arrival of digital technologies was supposed to spell the end of the line for television, the most dominant medium of the last half of the twentieth century.  However, the opposite has happened -- there is more television than ever before and, as Toby Miller recently put it, "people like it more than ever". As a result, many people have rushed to characterize what has become of the medium. 

This special issue of Communicazioni Sociali is devoted to making sense of how television genres have changed and adapted in an era where more television is more abundant than ever.

There are those, such as Jason Mittell, who claim that we are living in an age of "complex TV" that is characterized by considerable innovation in narrative styles of dramatic television series. However, this reflects a small - albeit important - portion of the total amount of television available across a range of channels.  Such developments are part of the constant back-and-forth between media industries estimations of what their audiences expect and desire from particular television genres and the economic opportunities that arise from them. Others note the narrative possibilities that have been created due to television's incredible mobility, available on different technological platforms from 3D televisions mounted on the wall to cell phones and tablets.  Services like Netflix provide new opportunities for accessing television programming, like House of Cards, while at the same time capturing audience information that allows them to determine future productions as well as to organize its existing catalogue in categories such as “Goofy Comedies”. Governments have increasingly become active in the television business, with channels like RT and France 24 as examples of networks producing programming that mimics the style and content of commercial all-news networks. Although there is greater emphasis on our ability to record and replay television programming according to personal preferences, the live event - especially sports - remains a key component in the economics and aesthetics of television.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Genre versus series, or episodes, or season as an object for television analysis
  • Genre and the study of television industries
  • Genre and the construction of celebrity within television
  • Making sense of “mixed” genres, (eg: “dramedies”, ‘Biopics”)
  • The “Netflix” effect and the creation of “micro-genres”
  • Theoretical approaches to the study of television genres
  • Continuities and discontinuities in TV genres;
  • Case studies of specific, contemporary genres: news, soap operas, talent and variety shows, reality programming, drama, sitcoms, satire, documentary, awards programs, sports
  • Television networks built around generic styles (all-news, cartoons, food, travel, lifestyle)
  • Gender and the discursive construction of genres as “masculine” or “feminine”.
  • Genre, sound, and television style
  • Mainstream and marginalized genres of television within different national or regional contexts
  • Genre and transmedial and/or intermedial storytelling
  • Genres and production styles within “algorithmic culture”
  • Genres, distribution and scheduling
  • The role of paratextual and promotional material in the construction of generic identity
  • The legal and regulatory framework around genre production
  • Seriality and the consumption of television genres
  • Television criticism as a genre


Deadlines & Guidelines

Please send your abstract to both the editors Massimo Scaglioni ( and Ira Wagman (ira.wagman@carleton.caby January 31, 2015. All notifications of acceptance will be emailed no later than February 15, 2015. Abstracts must be from 300 to 400 words long, and may be presented in English or French. The proposal shall include: 5 key words, authors, institution, and contacts (email), together with a short curriculum for each author.

If the proposal is accepted, the Author/s will be asked to send the whole article by May 1st 2015. Contributions will be sent to two independent reviewers in a double-blind procedure prior to publication decision. Articles should be of between 4,000-5,000 words in length (no more than


Cfp 3-2015 - Television Genres in the Age of Abundance.pdf

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