My research uses the Sitcom to explore how British television dealt with love, sex and marriage across three decades. Rather than understanding television content as a mirror for societal values, I employ Stuart Hall’s framework, and consider it as a site of struggle over representation and meaning.
I will first research the production of Sitcoms, considering a play of shifting and contradictory forces in which a range of institutions, discourses, actors and social processes are revealed as being involved in shaping content. I then hope to work closely with that which was produced, analysing television’s depictive flows in order to gain a sense of how intimate lives could be spoken of and represented in Modern Britain and, in taking the long view, aim to plot how this might have changed over time. Finally, in uncovering audience reception I hope to create an insight into the actual activity of viewing, and the ways in which Britons were negotiating their relationship to the nation’s most popular, and perhaps most powerful, communication medium.