Affect, upset and the self: memories of television in Australia



Publication Details

Turnbull, S. and Hanson, S. (2015). Affect, upset and the self: memories of television in Australia. Media International Australia Incorporating Culture and Policy: quarterly journal of media research and resources, (157), 144-152.


In a recent survey inviting people to outline some of their memories of television and its place in their lives, one of the questions asked was: 'Can you explain why these particular television memories have stayed with you?' While the responses to this question were complex and individual, some common themes emerged. These included questions of affect; experiences that were 'beyond the norm'; and moments of self-identification. While the younger age group (15-45 years) slightly favoured the 'self-identification' and 'affect' categories, for the 46+ combined groups, the major category was the 'beyond the norm'. The second-most cited factor, given by approximately 50 per cent of the respondents, was that a television memory is made when an event on television somehow becomes intertwined with the life of the individual. In many instances, the event was recalled as a formative or life-changing occurrence. While it is difficult to draw too many conclusions from the data in relation to gender, given that there were more female participants than male, when the data were recast to show percentages within each gender group, it was interesting to note that the male participants rated 'affect' most highly while females rated 'self-identification' as the most significant factor in the making of a television memory. This article explores these findings in more detail and examines the implications of these data for thinking about the relationship between the medium of television, television audiences and the formation of memories.

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