Making Room for TV

Lynn Spigel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Nicholas Ray’s 1955 film, Rebel without a Cause, contains a highly melodramatic moment in which family members are unable to patch together the rift among them. The media also published pictorial representations of domestic life that showed people how television might-or might not-fit into the dynamics of their own domestic lives. Most significantly, like the scene from Rebel without a Cause, the media discourses were organized around ideas of family harmony and discord. Television was supposed to bring the family together but still allow for social and sexual divisions in the home. In fact, the attempt to maintain a balance between these two ideals was a central tension at work in popular discourses on television and the family. Television, it was said, would bring the family ever closer, an expression which, in itself a spatial metaphor, was continually repeated in a wide range of popular media-not only women’s magazines, but also general magazines, men’s magazines, and on the airwaves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCommunication in History
Subtitle of host publicationStone Age Symbols to Social Media, Eighth Edition
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781003823278
ISBN (Print)9781032168296
StatePublished - Jan 1 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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