This article presents a qualitative audience study of how the historical dramas are understood and socially and culturally valued in contemporary China, considering personal, social, historical and cultural issues that relate to viewers’ engagement with this television genre. Between late September 2007 and early April 2008, the author carried out his fieldwork audience research in two urban settings in China, the city of Beijing and that of Changsha. 10 focus groups were conducted involving more than 50 respondents from young adult and middle-aged audience groups. The author identifies two text-based interpretive frameworks that are adopted by the respondents across all the focus group interviews in their understanding and evaluation of the historical drama text. These two interpretive frameworks include the framework of fact/fiction and that of ‘classic-ness’. In conclusion, the author argues that the relationship between the historical drama genre and its audiences represents imaginative conflicts and ideological clashes in the treatment of the state as a totalitarian entity in China’s television culture sphere.
|Translated title of the contribution||The politics of watching history: Chinese audiences’ responses to historical drama on contemporary Chinese television|
|Number of pages||29|
|Journal||Communication and Society|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 2014|
- Contemporary Chinese television historical drama; Mainland Chinese audiences; Audience research; Cultural competences; Classic-ness