Monday, February 21, 2011

The Suburban Home Companion: Television and the Neighborhood Ideal in Postwar America

Lynn Spigel tries to explain the role of having a television set in the suburban home during the postwar era. The purpose is to reveal the cultural meanings and practices behind the arrival of the television and how suburban home-owners had adapted to its onset. One of the strong views towards the television is that it acted as an all-purpose return to family values in the home. The set was seen so far as to bringing the family together during times of dispute, acting as a medium of communication within the families' own household. There was also a strong attraction to the values of playing the role of participating in the community, as well as bonding with the neighbors.

This advertisement reveals the importance of a television set to bringing the family together.

This clip is an advertisement for a CROSELY television set in 1951. (1:44-2:35)

The methods that this technology introduced were that of travelling to distant and exotic places while remaining in the comfort of your own home. The ability to merge public and private spheres through the television set was the perfect companion for suburban homes. These home-owners saw this technology as a means of staying updated with the public and living through he television to continue doing so. Through owning a television set, the home-owners have developed a sense of belonging to their neighborhood, setting the status in which they lived.

This advertisement for a television set in 1959 showed the importance of owning a TV to all members of the family.

The author mentioned that one of the aspects that kept the Americans stable through the Depression was the design of suburban space. The suburban homes were meant to reduce the “urban clutter” and “purify communal spaces”. This sense of organization and conformation was a strong appeal to the female audience, attracting them to this sense of brining the home together. This advertising for a television set is promoting strong family values, while travelling within the comfort of your own home.

This clip shows the physical appeal of having a television set in your living space.


What are the advertisements for television sets that you have seen recently? How do they appeal to the consumer?

What has changed? Why?

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