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Scholars as Audiences, Symbolic Boundaries, and Culturally Legitimated Prime-Time Cable Drama

Michael L. Wayne | PDF-Fulltext

Abstract: This article addresses Jason Mittell’s controversial essay “On Disliking Mad Men” (2010) in the cultural context of post-network television. The author uses 72 critical reviews of five HBO series to place Mittell’s argument alongside other rhetorical strategies that resist the prestige associated with high-status prime-time cable dramas. In relation to these rhetorical strategies, the troubled publication history of and negative scholarly reactions to Mittell’s essay are understood as indicative of elite post-network television audiences policing the symbolic boundaries surrounding culturally legitimated texts.

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