Yoga gurus on lifestyle cable channels targeting time-pressured Indian urbanites; Chinese dating shows promoting competitive individualism; Taiwanese domestic makeover formats combining feng shui with life planning advice: Asian TV screens are increasingly home to a wild proliferation of popular factual programs providing lifestyle guidance to viewers. In Telemodernities Tania Lewis, Fran Martin, and Wanning Sun demonstrate how lifestyle-oriented popular factual television illuminates key aspects of late modernities in South and East Asia, offering insights not only into early twenty-first-century media cultures but also into wider developments in the nature of public and private life, identity, citizenship, and social engagement. Drawing on extensive interviews with television industry professionals and audiences across China, India, Taiwan, and Singapore, Telemodernities uses popular lifestyle television as a tool to help us understand emergent forms of identity, sociality, and capitalist modernity in Asia.
Introduction: Telemodernities 1
1. Lifestyle Television in Context: Media Industries, Cultural Economies, and Genre Flows 25
2. Local versus Metropolitan Television in China: Stratification of Needs, Taste, and Spatial Imagination 52
3. Here, There, and Everywhere: Mediascapes, Geographic Imaginaries, and Indian Television 82
4. Imagining Global Mobility: TLC Taiwan 106
5. Gurus, Babas, and Daren: Popular Experts on Chinese and Indian Advice TV 126
6. Magical Modernities: Spiritual Advice TV in India and Taiwan 157
7. Risky Romance: Navigating Late Modern Identities and Relationships on Chinese and Indian Lifestyle TV 196
8. A Self to Believe In: Negotiating Femininities in Sinophone Lifestyle Advice TV 222
Conclusion: Negotiating Modernities through Lifestyle Television 254
Works Cited 281
"Focused on the uncannily familiar-yet-strange world of Indian- and Chinese-language lifestyle television, this ambitious study asks what modernity is today, now that the engine room of global change has shifted decisively away from the West. Based on years of careful audience research, textual analysis and producer interviews, the answers are never less than eye-opening and, more often than not, mind-blowing. A revelation."
Chris Berry, King’s College London
"In this groundbreaking book Tania Lewis, Fran Martin, and Wanning Sun offer a highly nuanced account of television history in India, China, and Taiwan and of emerging Asian modernities, as well as a most welcome complication of the dominant theories of globalization and neoliberalism. Emphasizing the importance of location and the specifics of national and regional contexts for television, Telemodernities has the potential to significantly change the conversation about media, modernity, and Asia."
Graeme Turner, author of
Re-Inventing the Media
"[A] welcome addition to the existing scholarly work on media and Asia studies.... Telemodernities is a nicely imagined, extensively planned and pursued study with a triangulated design, combining industry interviews with textual analyses and audience interviews."
The China Quarterly
"Telemodernities is a valuable addition to a growing body of scholarship.... A fascinatingly detailed comparative study of lifestyle television in China, India, and Taiwan, the book seeks to decenter the normative modernity of the West, interrogating instead the role television plays in constituting and interpreting multiple 'modernities.'"
Feminist Media Studies
"The scope of the book is expansive, covering all three aspects of media studies: production, content, and audience analysis. The thick description helps immensely with the goal of showing how modernities are interpreted, negotiated, and confronted in nuanced ways...."
International Journal of Communication
"A welcome addition to the existing scholarly work on media and Asia studies. . . . We have yet to see another study on this scale comparing local engagements with a particular television genre in Asia or anywhere else. . . . A nicely imagined, extensively planned and pursued study."