Employing a unique research methodology that enables people to report on their normal activities as they occur, the authors examine how people actually use and experience television -- and how television viewing both contributes to and detracts from the quality of everyday life. Studied within the natural context of everyday living, and drawing comparisons between television viewing and a variety of other daily activities and leisure pursuits, this unusual book explores whether television is a boon or a detriment to family life; how people feel and think before, during, and after television viewing; what causes television habits to develop; and what causes heavy viewing -- and what heavy viewing causes -- in the short and long term.
Television and the Quality of Life also compares the viewing experience cross-nationally using samples from the United States, Italy, Canada, and Germany -- and then interprets the findings within a broad theoretical and historical framework that considers how information use and daily activity contribute to individual, familial, societal, and cultural development.
Table of Contents
Contents: A Way to Think About Information Reception. The Problem of Leisure. The Limits of Television Research. Charting a New Course: The Experience Sampling Method. The Use and Experience of Television in Everyday Life. Television and the Quality of Family Life. Viewing as Cause, as Effect, and as Habit. The Causes and Consequences of Heavy Viewing. A Brief Review of Major Findings: Reclaiming the Idea of Media Effects. Television and the Structuring of Experience.
"...a major study whose results will be cited for years to come....Add this book to your library immediately."
—Quarterly Review of Double Speak
"...rich, theoretically founded, and methodologically sophisticated....opens up new vistas and may mark the beginning of a new mass communication research tradition.... an extremely interesting and well-written book....Offers readers a truly exciting intellectual adventure."
—Journal of Communication
"...well written and documented, with clear explanations of methods and statistics used....a welcome addition to the literature and will be used to stimulate many discussions about research agendas in the future."
"...this new scholarly study brilliantly illuminates many of the impacts of the medium....an important book on an important subject."
"One of the few absolutely indispensable books about television viewing to appear in the 25 years since McLuhan wrote Understanding Media."
—Robert D. McIlwraith
University of Manitoba
"Television and the Quality of Life is a welcome addition to the literature, a fine book that uses an ingenious methodology to fill the gap of what people do during the hours at home when the television is on....Its rich citations and extensive bibliography will make the book valuable to scholars, especially by its thoughtful treatment of so many issues. Everyone in the field of communication will find it valuable."
Professor Emeritus, University of Western Ontario, San Diego State University