Helsingin yliopisto


Helsingin yliopiston verkkojulkaisut

Helsingin yliopisto, Helsinki 2006

Eläytymisestä omiin tarinoihin

Televisiosarja katsojien keskustelussa

Hanna Rajalahti

Väitöskirja, joulukuu 2006.
Helsingin yliopisto, valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta, viestinnän laitos.

From sympathetic understanding to own stories. TV-series in the conversation of its viewers.

The purpose of this study is to analyze viewers' conversations about TV-series as a practice in which viewers construct meaning to TV-series. In the tradition of British Cultural Studies this study understands that viewer has an active role in interpreting and constructing meaning to TV-series. In the tradition of feminist studies this study understands that gender is being constructed in social and cultural practices.

In reception studies, the viewing of TV-series has usually been analyzed as a practice which is embedded at home and in a family. The studies are often based on interviews of viewers, and the analysis of the construction of meaning is based on interview material where the viewers most often talk about their viewing habits and the likes and dislikes of TV-shows and -characters.

This study extends the reception and interpretation of TV-series from home to the moments of interaction between viewers. It is quite common to hear how people talk also outside of home about television and the programmes they have watched. In this study the construction of meaning is being studied in viewers' conversations. The method of analysis is conversation analysis which studies the ordered properties of everyday forms of social interaction.

The data has been collected in a workplace where four women watched together (and without the presence of a researcher) two TV-series, American sitcom Golden Girls and Finnish family drama Ruusun aika (Time of a Rose), and afterwards had time and chance for discussion. There was neither a questionnaire nor an agenda for the women to discuss.

The analysis of the conversation brings up three themes. In the orientation discussions the viewers aim to construct frames in which it makes sense to talk about the TV-series. The frames have mostly to do with the genre of the TV-series. The second theme is concerned with the viewers' aim to achieve sympathetic understanding of the characters in the TV-series. The third theme extends and transfers the conversation about TV-series to real or imaginary stories of own life.

In the conversation the reception of a TV-series appears as being in motion: in the orientation discussions the viewers move towards the series, in the character-discussions the viewers move within the world of the series, and when telling their own stories the viewers move away from the TV-series towards their own lives.

In the conversations there appears also a distinction in gender-constructions. When the viewers talk about motherhood, they adopt a serious and moralistic tone. When they talk about female sexuality and relationships between women and men they adopt carnevalistic and humorous tone. There are examples of these kinds of gender-constructions also in other studies of Finnish gender culture. Motherhood means the responsibility to good upbringing; relationships with men include something unpredictable and problematic which one handles at best in a humorous way.

The title page of the publication

Julkaisu on tekijänoikeussäännösten alainen. Teosta voi lukea ja tulostaa henkilökohtaista käyttöä varten. Käyttö kaupallisiin tarkoituksiin on kielletty.

© Helsingin yliopisto 2006

Viimeksi päivitetty 14.11.2006

Yhteystiedot, Contact information E-thesis Helsingin yliopisto, University of Helsinki