Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy


Media Studies


Dr. Sasha Torres


This dissertation, Immediacy and Aesthetic Remediation in Television and Digital Media: Mass Media’s Challenge to the Democratization of Media Production, analyzes North American television’s aesthetic remediation of user-produced media forms. I argue that the use of the aesthetics of user-produced media in television production is more indicative of the television industry’s hegemonic influence over cultural creation and discourse than of the democratization of media production. It includes a semiotic analysis of television and user-produced reality-based media such as television news, citizen journalism, video blogs, and reality programming. This is followed by another case study on animation centering on television’s recent appropriation of the aesthetics of user-produced Web cartoons. These case studies are on one hand an historical analysis of television’s use of reality and animated content and, on the other, a semiotic analysis of the aesthetics of user- and mass-produced media which is used to elaborate upon the television industry’s adaption to a post-network, digital media age. Drawing on concepts such as Raymond Williams’ dominant and emergent cultures, Pierre Bourdieu’s habitus, Walter Benjamin’s notion of the Urvergangenheit (mythic past), and Nick Couldry’s “myth of the mediated centre” as a theoretical framework, the final sections explore the relationship between aesthetic remediation, cultural production, and ideology in order to challenge assumptions about and posit alternative approaches to user-produced media.