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Imagining the popular in contemporary French culture$
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Diana Holmes and David Looseley

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780719078163

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719078163.001.0001

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French television: negotiating the national popular

French television: negotiating the national popular

(p.162) 5 French television: negotiating the national popular
Imagining the popular in contemporary French culture

Lucy Mazdon

Manchester University Press

This chapter notes that television presents an interesting case of a relatively young medium whose function and forms had to be defined within a context of already developed debates over the high/popular divide. It shows that the possible contradiction in television's aims to disseminate national values and ‘high’ culture and to entertain a mass audience was posed with particular acuity in France, where the democratisation of high culture had long been central to national identity and to what the State perceived as its duty. The chapter concludes that television exemplifies the twin threads of allegiance to French exceptionalism and market-driven alignment with Western norms which characterise French cultural life.

Keywords:   high culture, popular culture, mass entertainment, French television, French exceptionalism, French culture

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