Robinson, Rebecca Grace
Scottish television comedy audiences.
PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.
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This study explores how Scottish people feel about representations of Scottishness in contemporary television comedy. The thesis is in two related parts, articulating an exploration of genre, comedy and Scottish television texts with the theory, methodology and analysis of empirical audience research. The thesis begins by exploring how current television comedy is poorly served by critical literature beyond notions of genre although this field of study too fails to indicate significant contemporary permeabilities between comedy sub-genres, and between comedy and other kinds of leisure shows. The second chapter explores historical approaches to Scottish cultural criticism and literary myths (Tartanry, Kailyardism, Caledonian anti-syzygy, Clydesidism) and sets these against contemporary mythologising by individual Scottish comedy practitioners. The second half of the thesis marks a shift from textual studies toward audience research, and in particular develops a discussion about the problematics of researching comedy and audiences qualitatively. The first part of the second half is a literature survey of selected examples of audience research which is translated from theory and epistemology, to methodology and technique in the next section which comprises a discussion of the model for the empirical data collection. The next section presents data from a quantitative survey and qualitative focus-group discussions. The last part of the second section interprets the data through triangulation although this is limited by lack of comparable critical materials. The whole attempts to explore concepts of national identity in Scottish television comedy with audiences, but also develops the additional problematic of empirical quantitative research and comedy themes.
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