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Small Screen, Big FeelsTelevision and Cultural Anxiety in the Twenty-First Century$
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Melissa Ames

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780813180069

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813180069.001.0001

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Watching (and Feeling) Contemporary American TV: Understanding the Relationship among Societal Conflict, Technological Advancement, and Television Programming

(p.1) Introduction
Small Screen, Big Feels

Melissa Ames

University Press of Kentucky

The introduction situates contemporary American television within relevant cultural contexts explaining, for example, the ways in which the post-9/11 and post-social media period impacted the cultural environment and the television programming produced within it. This opening chapter provides an overview of relevant affect and media theory that help to explain the ways in which viewers feel through their screens. It also details three key concepts involving affect that ground the arguments within the book: 1) the affect continuum (the ways in which affects are experienced, such as bodily affect, conscious emotion, and collective structures of feeling); 2) affect object reciprocity (the ways in which emotional states impact the production and reception of texts and vice versa); and 3) affect modulation (the ways in which viewers actively turn to entertainment products to alter or reinforce emotional states or how outside parties attempt to do so).

Keywords:   affect theory, emotion, post-9/11, television, social media, screen culture, consumption

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