This dissertation offers a discursive and cultural history of subcultural television organized around detailed engagements with two television programs from the late 1970s and early 1980s, New York City's TV Party and Los Angeles’ New Wave Theatre. Utilizing surviving episodes and promotional materials, interviews with creators and participants, reviews and articles from popular and underground publications, and other historical sources, I present these programs as inimitable experiments in both the theory and practice of subcultural television, a diverse set of aesthetic and cultural practices aimed at creating marginal forms of collectivity through televisual technology. To provide context, I locate these shows during a particularly charged moment of U.S. cultural history that saw the simultaneous emergence of alternative medium forums like cable access and subcultural social formations like punk. Conventionally, subcultures are conceived as oppositional constructs existing outside the co-opting grasp of the mainstream, inherently hostile to mass-cultural mediums like television. However, for a few fleeting years on the televisual frontiers of 1970s and 1980s cable, a small collection of artists, musicians, performers, punks, and weirdos set out to produce subculture both on and through TV.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation.February 2016. Major: Comparative Studies in Discourse and Society. Advisors: Richard Leppert, Laurie Ouellette. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 307 pages.
TV Party, New Wave Theatre, and Subcultural Television in the 1970s and 1980s.
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