In Network Nations, Michele Hilmes reveals and re-conceptualizes the roots of media globalization through a historical look at the productive transnational cultural relationship between British and American broadcasting. Though frequently painted as opposites--the British public service tradition contrasting with the American commercial system--in fact they represent two sides of the same coin. Neither could have developed without the constant presence of the other, in terms not only of industry and policy but of aesthetics, culture, and creativity, despite a long history of oppositional rhetoric.
Based on primary research in British and American archives, Network Nations argues for a new transnational approach to media history, looking across the traditional national boundaries within which media is studied to encourage an awareness that media globalization has a long and fruitful history. Placing media history in the framework of theories of nationalism and national identity, Hilmes examines critical episodes of transnational interaction between the US and Britain, from radio’s amateurs to the relationship between early network heads; from the development of radio features and drama to television spy shows and miniseries; as each other’s largest suppliers of programming and as competitors on the world stage; and as a network of creative, business, and personal relationships that has rarely been examined, but that shapes television around the world. As the global circuits of television grow and as global regions, particularly Europe, attempt to define a common culture, the historical role played by the British/US media dialogue takes on new significance.
"Michele Hilmes, a leading media historian in the USA, has made an important contribution to the comparative study of the development of radio and television in America and Britain. The British public service tradition and the American commercial model have had more in common than is generally supposed, as Hilmes demonstrates in her clear and readable account of their intertwined histories." --Professor Paddy Scannell, Department of Communication Studies, University of Michigan
Introduction: Thinking Transnationally: The Anglo-American Axis I. The Nations Imagine Radio, 1922 to 1938 1. Chaos and Control 2. National Broadcasting in Britain 3. The "American System" II. Trans-Atlantic Convergence, 1938 to 1946 4. Enormous Changes at the Last Minute 5. The Politics and Poetics of Neutrality 6. In It Together: Wartime Radio III. Television, Trade, and Transculturation, 1946 to 1975 7. Disentangling and Differentiation, 1946 to 1955 8. New Directions and Disputes, 1955 to 1964 9. Transatlantic Partnerships, 1964 to 1980 10. Toward "Globalization"