Mature Audiences: Television in the Lives of Elders
by Karen E. Riggs
Rutgers University Press, 1998
eISBN: 978-0-8135-6708-2 | Cloth: 978-0-8135-2539-6
Library of Congress Classification HQ1064.U5R546 1998
Dewey Decimal Classification 306.4850846

A medium in which Dawson's Creek is displacing the "aging" Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Place has little room for older Americans. Mass communications professor Riggs studies the other side of the television screen: "creative ways in which older Americans are using television today." Her book gathers several ethnographic studies: on older women's reaction to Murder, She Wrote; on the vital place of C-SPAN, PBS, and other nontraditional fiction and nonfiction TV among the upper-class residents of a midwestern retirement community; on involvement in public-access television by older Milwaukee African Americans; and on ways minority and immigrant elders interacted with TV. Americans, Riggs notes, "have linked television viewing among the aged with deadly passivity, hinting that elders who spend hours each day with the tube have ceded over their lives." In fact, she argues, elders from different classes, genders, races, and social circumstances choose the shows they watch deliberately and thoughtfully and as a key element in their interaction with the world around them.

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