Archive for 2019

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[Commlist] New Book: A Post-Nationalist History of Television in Ireland

Thu Sep 19 10:43:54 GMT 2019

[New Book] A Post-Nationalist History of Television in Ireland, by Edward Brennan

Publisher Link:


“This is a clever and original book which narrates the history of Irish television through the experience of its viewers. Because it is so different, and so well written and insightful, it will be of wide interest to people outside Ireland engaged in studying cultural history or investigating media influence.” (James Curran, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK)

“Brennan’s book does what good history writing should do: it tells compelling stories of the past, while also helping us to understand the present and look ahead to the future. The critical focus on audience memories is especially innovative, and makes for engaging, thought-provoking reading. This should be an essential text, not just in Ireland, but – in keeping with its ‘post-nationalist’ approach—for an international readership.” (David Buckingham, Loughborough University, UK)

“This is an original, theoretically sophisticated and historically informed book… equally important and easily readable.” (Susanne Kinnebrock, University of Augsburg, Germany)

“A wonderful account of Irish television, one which suggests new ways of writing media history, by focusing on people’s ordinary experiences of broadcasting, and by showing that ‘national’ systems are always at the same time international.” (David Hesmondhalgh, University of Leeds, UK)

With superb insight and detailed historical research, Brennan takes seriously the complex ways in which the flows of an international media culture are absorbed by a national culture, and in doing so produces a study whose interest extends far beyond Irish cultural studies /per se/.” (Chris Morash, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland)

This book breaks new ground, and has a sinewy, research-rich and original basis for its fascinating approach to media historiography. This not only poses a highly relevant challenge to more narrowly focused academic approaches, including the historical ones, but will enrich public understanding of the media generally.” (John Horgan, Dublin City University, Ireland)


This book explores the question of how society has changed with the introduction of private screens. Taking the history of television in Ireland as a case study due to its position at the intersection of British and American media influences, this work argues that, internationally, the transnational nature of television has been obscured by a reliance on institutional historical sources. This has, in turn, muted the diversity of audience experiences in terms of class, gender and geography. By shifting the focus away from the default national lens and instead turning to audience memories as a key source, /A Post-Nationalist History of Television in Ireland/ defies the notion of a homogenous national television experience and embraces the diverse and transnational nature of watching television. Turning to people’s memories of past media, this study ultimately suggests that the arrival of the television in Ireland, and elsewhere, was part of a long-term, incremental change where the domestic and the intimate became increasingly fused with the global.

Table of contents

How Should We Write a History of Television?, pages 1-22

A Dominant Narrative in Irish Television History, pages 23-46

Personal Memory and Social Power, pages 47-66

Making Sense of Television, pages 67-98

Memories of Imported Programmes and International Broadcasts, pages 99-122

Time, Space and Television, pages 123-149

Recollection and Social Status, pages 151-185

Putting the Bishop and the Nightie to Bed, pages 187-205

Personally Remembering the Global, pages 207-227

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