Although we tend to think of television primarily as a household fixture, TV monitors outside the home are widespread: in bars, laundromats, and stores; conveying flight arrival and departure times in airports; uniting crowds at sports events and allaying boredom in waiting rooms; and helping to pass the time in workplaces of all kinds. In Ambient Television Anna McCarthy explores the significance of this pervasive phenomenon, tracing the forms of conflict, commerce, and community that television generates outside the home. Discussing the roles television has played in different institutions from 1945 to the present day, McCarthy draws on a wide array of sources. These include retail merchandising literature, TV industry trade journals, and journalistic discussions of public viewing, as well as the work of cultural geographers, architectural theorists, media scholars, and anthropologists. She also uses photography as a research tool, documenting the uses and meanings of television sets in the built environment, and focuses on such locations as the tavern and the department store to show how television is used to support very different ideas about gender, class, and consumption. Turning to contemporary examples, McCarthy discusses practices such as Turner Private Networks’ efforts to transform waiting room populations into advertising audiences and the use of point-of-sale video that influences brand visibility and consumer behavior. Finally, she inquires into the activist potential of out-of-home television through a discussion of the video practices of two contemporary artists in everyday public settings. Scholars and students of cultural, visual, urban, American, film, and television studies will be interested in this thought-provoking, interdisciplinary book.
This issue marks the thirtieth anniversary of Social Text and celebrates the journal’s legacy. Offering a history of the journal since its inception in 1979, this issue explores the elements that have made Social Text what it is today: the intellectual impulses that first brought the editorial collective of scholars, artists, and activists together; the collective’s special commitment to collaborative journal editing; and the unique path the journal has taken to arrive at the distinctive place it now occupies in new left critical thought.
Featuring new interviews with Social Text’s founders and former editors—including Stanley Aronowitz, John Brenkman, Fredric Jameson, Randy Martin, Toby Miller, Bruce Robbins, Andrew Ross, Sohnya Sayres, and Anders Stephanson—the issue reflects on the journal’s legacy as a radical publication that has bridged politics and the academy and has made critical interventions in both arenas. Several contributors revisit the first issue of the journal and describe its lasting impact. Others examine the politics of production at Social Text and detail the hands-on process of putting the journal together. Notably, the issue also features thirty essays by members of the current editorial collective, on key topics that have been crucial to the journal. Ranging from aesthetics to war, and including empire, mass culture, revolution, science, and theory, these essays bring to life the cultural history of the journal and demonstrate how Social Text has shaped the way that these terms are conceptualized and used today.
Contributors. The forty-four contributors include the current members of the Social Text collective and a number of former members. For a complete list of the collective, visit socialtextonline.org.
Imagining Legality: Where Law Meets Popular Culture is collection of essays on the relationship between law and popular culture that posits, in addition to the concepts of law in the books and law in action, a third concept of law in the image—that is, of law as it is perceived by the public through the lens of public media.
Imagining Legality argues that images of law suggested by television and film are as numerous as they are various, and that they give rise to a potent and pervasive imaginative life of the law. The media’s projections of the legal system remind us not only of the way law lives in our imagination but also of the contingencies of our own legal and social arrangements.
Contributors to Imagining Legality are less interested in the accuracy of the portrayals of law in film and television than in exploring the conditions of law’s representation, circulation, and consumption in those media. In the same way that legal scholars have taken on the disciplinary perspectives of history, economics, sociology, anthropology, and psychology in relation to the law, these writers bring historical, sociological, and cultural analysis, as well as legal theory, to aid in the understanding of law and popular culture.