The Private Life of a Nation in Crisis : A Study on the Politics in/of Greek Television Fiction

Abstract: The private life of a nation in crisis offers in-depth studies of the fictional reconstruction and negotiation of moments of heightened societal tension that take place throughout the life of a nation. Its constituent papers focus on the role of television fiction in representing and shaping either critical moments, events, or periods that disrupt the normal pace of life, or unresolved societal tensions that become part of everyday life. What is more, the papers investigate the socio-cultural consequences of representations, in terms of the interpretative lenses television fiction provides for understanding the events as such. The empirical focus is placed on television fiction produced and broadcast in Greece, a country that has recently received a large share of publicity because of its protagonistic role in the late 2000s Eurozone crisis and, at the same time, a media landscape with multiple aspects that still remain uncharted. The thesis contains case studies from different periods of Greek television fiction, from 1989 – the year of the launch of the first private channels in Greece – onwards, in an attempt to connect the overall project to the production context characterizing commercial television, another aspect of European television in the process of continuous exploration. Through a close analysis of specific television programmes, as well as a complementary study of the production culture of private television in Greece, this thesis aspires to contribute to the general question regarding the role of the media in critical, uncertain, or tumultuous times, with an emphasis on television fiction’s potential to recode their meaning and to reflect back on society.

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