America, As Seen on TV

How Television Shapes Immigrant Expectations around the Globe

240 pages

6 illustrations

March, 2018

ISBN: 9781479818525



Add to Cart Available: 2/23/2018

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Clara E. Rodríguez is Professor of Sociology at Fordham University's College at Lincoln Center. She is the author of numerous books and has been Visiting Professor at Columbia University, MIT, and Yale University. She has also been a Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation and a Senior Fellow at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History. She was previously the Dean of Fordham University's College of General Studies.

All books by Clara E. Rodríguez

The surprising effects of American TV on global viewers  

As a dominant cultural export, American television is often the first exposure to American ideals and the English language for many people throughout the world. Yet, American television is flawed, and, it represents race, class, and gender in ways that many find unfair and unrealistic. What happens, then, when people who grew up on American television decide to come to the United States? What do they expect to find, and what do they actually find? 

In America, As Seen on TV, Clara E. Rodríguez surveys international college students and foreign nationals working or living in the US to examine the impact of American television on their views of the US and on their expectations of life in the United States. She finds that many were surprised to learn that America is racially and economically diverse, and that it is not the easy-breezy, happy endings culture portrayed in the media, but a work culture. The author also surveys US-millennials about their consumption of US TV and finds that both groups share the sense that American TV does not accurately reflect racial/ethnic relations in the US as they have experienced them. However, the groups differ on how much they think US TV has influenced their views on sex, smoking and drinking. 

America, As Seen on TV explores the surprising effects of TV on global viewers and the realities they and US millennials actually experience in the US.  


  • “This engaging book provides a nuanced probing of the vast and complex literature on the ‘soft power’ of television here and abroad to examine how TV shapes the views of foreign born and U.S. millennials about representations of class, race, ethnicity, and gender in America. Through grounded analysis, the findings reveal not only the influence of viewers’ social and cultural backgrounds on their reception of American television programs, they also transform our understanding of the cultural embeddedness of the global television industry.”

    —Denise Bielby, Author of Global TV: Exporting Television and Culture in the World Market

  • “Clara Rodríguez has produced an incisive and provocative study. Through intensive interviews and a thoughtful examination of scholarly literature on the media, she has provided a revealing examination of American television’s influence on global perceptions of the life and values of the United States.This is a landmark study of television’s role in shaping popular views of our nation, particularly its racial, ethnic, class, and gender diversity."

    —Carlos E. Cortés, Author of The Children Are Watching: How the Media Teach about Diversity

  • "This insightful book delves into the influence that watching US TV shows has on the viewers’ preconceptions and perceptions about race, class, and gender, and to what extent they are aware of this influence…[A] timely and important contribution in understanding the global dominance of US TV."