Examinations: politicians in talkshows, Japanese characters

2 04 2017

I examined two PhD theses last month, both of them solid cultural and media studies. On March 14, Birte Schohaus of Groningen University defended her thesis Entertaining politics, seriously? She studied Dutch TV talkshow formats and analysed how producers and politicians negotiate the affordances of the format to, respectively, make and appealing program and communicate a political message. The thing I liked best about her work was her explanation of the situated rules that enable the performance of authenticity. More info and a link to the full dissertation can be found here [PDF]. Quite a different thesis was defended by Ruobing Han of Leiden University on March 21. She described The “Characterization” of Japan, in particular how characters like Pikachu or Hello Kitty have become means for merchandising, political campaigning and international country branding. I knew little about the so-called ‘cutification’ of Japan so was happy to read more about it. More info and a link to the full dissertation can be found here [PDF].

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