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Drama in Media Content

Christine Scodari


On the terrain of popular communication are cultural artifacts with a potential to entertain, inform, or persuade. Accordingly, dramatic media content has been investigated by way of five interdependent perspectives: (1) genre (→  Film Genres ), (2) medium, (3) narrative, (4) ideology, and (5) →  meaning . Especially with regard to film and →  television , this generic designation has been fluid, with shifting parameters and a tendency toward what Altman (1999) and others have called “genre mixing.” Television awards and DVD sellers may broadly distinguish drama from comedy, but scholars often treat what might otherwise be considered sub-genres of drama as genres in their own right. So, any scripted, narrative program or film that is not comedy, and which cannot be neatly classified under another, more specific brand such as Western, soap opera, film noir, melodrama, science fiction, action, or suspense/thriller, is designated simply as a drama. For instance, television features medical, legal, crime/espionage, political, and teen dramas, among others. Under the broader view, however, dramatic sub-genres have proliferated due to social and economic imperatives, often rooted in the institutional arrangements of a medium within national and/or international systems (→  Political Economy of the Media ). In turn, these sub-genres, their constituent texts, and audience negotiations ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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