America, As Seen on TV
How Television Shapes Immigrant Expectations around the Globe
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
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