index.html Using Bourdieu to Approach the Concept of Television

as an Instrument of Social Reproduction in the

U.S. The Paradox of The Simpsons




Juan José Martínez-Sierra

Jaume I University


Abstract


            As obvious as it may seem, it is undeniable that television has become a powerful media instrument. In this paper, the author aims to reflect on certain relevant aspects of the role television plays in contemporary American society, such as the influence it can exert on the general public, and the question of who controls it. The main intent is to raise pertinent questions and elicit issues for debate, rather than to pursue a thorough analysis of the matter. To do so, the author applies a selection of notions from Pierre Bourdieu’s model of reproduction of cultural and social power to a reflection on today’s role of television in American society. A central aim is to test the hypothesis that television helps to reproduce the American economic, social, and political system. A particular sample of American television programming – the popular cartoon sitcom The Simpsons – is considered. The examination of this show, also using some concepts from Bourdieu’s model, will lead to the conclusion that The Simpsons reproduces the system it critiques.




The Influence of Television

 

          To begin the discussion, I shall first consider several aspects of today’s role of television in the context of contemporary society. This is a topic that – if treated in depth – could suffice on its own to write a doctoral thesis, an endeavor that I obviously do not intend to attempt here. I will therefore just point out certain aspects that I deem significant to portrait – or at least to outline – the current picture, such as television’s influential power, the industry that develops around it, who controls it, or the paradox it creates.




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          Henry distinguishes between the art of high culture and the popular art of mass culture. The first concept refers to an art of isolation to which only the elite can have access and which creates a distance between the object and the viewer. The second concept has the opposite effect, since it creates a connection between people – in general – and society. Film and television are, according to the author, two examples of the latter concept (85). As Kaminski (8) puts it, television constitutes a “shared cultural experience” which promotes strong societal connections and a new sort of tribalism.

            According to Cheney (5), television is currently a special concern in the United States. He provides several reasons for this claim. For example, many people watch television, and a television show can be followed by millions of Americans at the same time Endnote11 . As we shall see, relatively few people and corporations are in control of television programming, though. Another reason is that, with the exception of movies, “television is the most realistic medium”. A further reason is that viewers have the tendency to believe what television reports as fact and a great deal of what is admitted to be fiction.

         Cheney also claims that television business stands among the most powerful and profitable industries worldwide (8), and that the same principles under which democracy and capitalism work apply to commercial television programming. Viewers’ likes or dislikes of a show determine whether the program will continue or will disappear from the marketplace. It is in this context that viewers become consumers (16). I could not agree more with this last statement. In fact, it is one of the ideas from which I develop the paradox of The Simpsons – as I shall imply later in this paper.

         But, who controls television programming? As Cheney (20) writes, corporations – advertisers and networks – have the most powerful control over television programming, although there are other entities that can exert some influence. For example, the Federal Government – through the Federal Communications Commission – or special interest groups – such as religious groups, ethnic groups, consumers, and parents – are among those entities.

            I have no doubt that television influences society. Similarly, I tend to believe that a great deal of the population of any of the so-called modern societies remains unaware of it. As Cheney suggests, if we are to comprehend how this influence works, it is necessary to understand first the way society influences individuals (40). From the moment we are born, we are socialized; that is, from the moment of birth, we are both formally and informally taught how to behave according to what adults believe is good or bad (Samovar and Porter 12). A similar process takes place as a result of watching television. We see how a variety of people behave, and we may infer that that is the proper way of behaving in the real world (Cheney 41) Endnote2 . As Cheney puts it, “When spending so much time with these fictional characters in their fictional situations, Americans may be learning ways of behaving” (41-42). From my experience, I dare say that that is a common phenomenon in multiple countries around the globe.

         But, why do we believe what we see on television to be real and learn forms of behavior from it? Cheney (38-39) alludes to McLuhan to point out that

           

civilization has gone through three stages [...]. In the preliterate or tribal stage, primitive people knew only what they actually saw or heard, usually within the confines of their own village and its locale [...]. In the literate or post-tribal stage, people could learn from books rather than from actual experience [...]. Today [...], modern man communicates and learns in much the same way as primitive man.




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            It is through television, Cheney explains, that people once again learn what they actually see and hear that happens in their village. The main difference between the tribal stage and today’s post-literate stage is that nowadays’ village is the whole planet and its history – that is, what many authors would refer to as the global village.

        The image of the world that we may create from what we see on television can be distorted and can, at the same time, create a paradox Endnote3 . As Cheney states, the most assiduous viewers are the elderly, the poor, ethnic minorities, and women. However, most of the people we could see on television at the time he wrote it were usually young, middle-class, white, and male (42). This statement suggests that the representation on television of the economic classes was disproportionate if we compared it to that time’s American situation, wherein blue-collar workers constituted a significant portion of the country’s labor force (Cheney 43). Cheney also claims that, even to the most honest television report, it is impossible to divulge the whole picture. The camera can focus only on one thing at a time, and editors have the last word on how the final product is going to look. Consequently, the result is, even if not done on purpose, not the whole truth – that is, a manipulated reality. However, due to the power of television, viewers have the tendency to believe that what they see is what actually happened (68-69). In sum, television has the power to portray a distorted reality and to do so in a way that viewers do not question the authenticity of what they see.



Theoretical Model


          Once I have defined the general lines along which I establish my perception of television, it is time to introduce the theoretical framework on which I base this discussion. I believe that Bourdieu’s general theories of the reproduction of cultural and social power may be highly useful in my attempt to define what I have named the paradox of The Simpsons. I will now introduce the concepts that are appropriate for my purposes. To do so, I will read the theory through Bourdieu himself and through other authors as well.

            The first notion to be introduced is the concept of field. In Moi’s feminist appropriation of Bourdieu’s sociology of culture, field is defined as “a competitive system of social relations which functions according to its own specific logic or rules”. The final goal of any agent in the field is to attain “maximum power and dominance within it”. In other words, as Moi continues, the final objective is “to rule the field, to become the instance which has the power to confer or withdraw legitimacy from other participants in the game” (1020-1021).

            Bourdieu defines legitimacy as “An institution, action or usage which is dominant, but not recognized as such [...], that is to say, which is tacitly accepted, is legitimate” (1021). Moi proceeds with her discussion on Bourdieu saying that, to possess legitimacy, the maximum amount of symbolic capital must be amassed (1021). Bourdieu defines the symbolic as “that which is material but is not recognised as being such [...] and which derives its efficacy not simply from its materiality but from this very misrecognition”. For Bourdieu, “Symbolic systems are instruments of knowledge and domination” that contribute “to the reproduction of the social order” (Mahar et al. 5). Bourdieu also considers capital to be a basis for domination (Mahar et al. 13). Symbolic capital can be defined as a “disguised form of physical ‘economic’ capital” (Mahar et al. 5), and includes “culturally significant attributes such as prestige, status and authority”. It is also essential to mention the notion of cultural capital, which Bourdieu defines as “culturally-valued taste and consumption patterns”, and which includes “a broad range of goods such as art [...], education [...] and forms of language” (Mahar et al. 13).




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            Another significant term to be introduced is habitus, which Bourdieu defines as “a system of dispositions adjusted to the game”. These strategies are, Moi reminds us, “acquired through practical experience in the field” (1021).

            A field, Moi says, cannot function without a specific habitus and is structured by a series of unspoken rules. In this sense, as Bourdieu claims, a field works as a form of censorship. If this is the case, “every discourse within the field becomes at once an enactment and an effect of symbolic violence”. Symbolic violence is legitimate, so it is not recognizable as violence. Those in possession of symbolic capital will become the controllers of symbolic power, and therefore of symbolic violence (Moi 1022-1023).

            According to Moi, Bourdieu believes that, in modern democracies, the educational system acts as one of the major agents of symbolic violence, whose function is to produce social belief in the legitimacy of the dominant power structures (1023). As Bourdieu and Passeron (54) suggest,


Every institutionalized educational system [...] owes the specific characteristics of its structure and functioning to the fact that, by the means proper to the institution, it has to produce and reproduce the institutional conditions whose existence and persistence (self-reproduction of the system) are necessary both to the exercise of its essential function of inculcation and to the fulfilment of its function of reproducing a cultural arbitrary which it does not produce (cultural reproduction), the reproduction of which contributes to the reproduction of the relations between the groups or classes (social reproduction).

 

    The last Bourdieuian concepts I wish to introduce are doxa, orthodoxy̧ and heterodoxy. For the author, “every established order tends to produce [...] the naturalization of its own arbitrariness” (“Outline” 164). As Moi explains, a traditional and stable society creates a situation in which both the natural and the social world are considered as self-evident. It is that self-evidence that Bourdieu refers to as doxa. Bourdieu defines a doxic society as one in which the “established cosmological and political order is perceived not as arbitrary [...], but as a self-evident and natural order which goes without saying and therefore goes unquestioned” (“Outline” 166). Efforts to defend the doxa are called orthodoxy, while efforts to change the doxa receive the name of heterodoxy (Moi 1026). All these are concepts that, together with the ones from the previous paragraphs, will prove crucial in the following sections.

 


Bourdieu’s Model and Television


      I have talked about the current role of television. Then, I have presented those notions of Bourdieu’s theory that I judge necessary for my purposes. My opinion is that Bourdieu’s model of reproduction of power can be applied to television in a similar way it can be applied to, for instance, the educational system. So, it is time now to build a bridge between both topics.




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      If field is defined as a competitive system of social relations whose final goal is to obtain the maximum power possible, then television can be understood as field. I already suggested that television is a powerful industry. We also saw that viewers can make a television show disappear if they do not like it. These two ideas suggest competition among corporations, which try to broadcast the most successful shows so that they make the most profit by means of, for example, paid advertising.

      Yet how do corporations exert their power? They know how to play the game because they know the rules of the game. Television works under the principles of the capitalist system. In other words, corporations know the habitus, whose strategies they have learned through experience in the field. Marketing can be an example of those strategies.

      If we accept Bourdieu’s definition of legitimacy, my view is that it is possible to claim that television has legitimacy. Viewers tend to believe what they see on television to be real, regardless of how accurate or far from the truth it is. This gullibility proves that television is legitimate. Even though it is not recognized as such, television is an instrument of domination. As Cheney (39) writes, “In the case of television, any message sent takes on an appearance of importance simply because it is on television”, an idea that I share.

      What is it that gives television legitimacy? In Bourdieu’s model, it is stated that possession of legitimacy is achieved by accumulating the maximum amount of symbolic capital. Television is – as I suggested earlier – a highly profitable and powerful industry. This business happens to be controlled by few people and corporations. The concentration of such tremendous amount of power in so few hands provides these people and corporations not only with economic capital, but also with symbolic capital and even cultural capital; as Glynn puts it, “the ability to define ‘reality’ in a way that serves one’s own interests is a significant form of cultural power” (69), an idea that supports my claim.

      It was said before that field can work as a form of censorship wherein symbolic violence takes place. I have stated that television is a powerful instrument of dominance. We have also seen that television has the power to control reality and that, at the same time, viewers tend to believe what they see on television. Viewers do not question what they see because it is self-evident; that is to say, it is doxa. These aspects can create an instance of symbolic violence. The fact that, especially in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1980s, most of the people who could be seen on television tended to be young, middle-class, white, and male constituted an example of symbolic violence against groups such as the poor, women, or ethnic minorities, whose existence was neglected.

      In a doxic society, television can be understood as a system that reproduces itself. As Cheney suggests, television is a powerful teaching tool (60) and has the potential for both good and bad effects. Television does not act on its own, Cheney explains, since society also plays a part in influencing individuals (63). Television’s heterogeneous audience and ability to manipulate truth make it an ideal instrument for political persuasion and propaganda (Cheney 71). For example, Cheney says that “television has brought a new dimension to democracy” since it allows voters to hear the speeches and see the faces of the campaigning candidates (72). In relation to this, Skornia points out that “Candidates are no longer elected; they are merchandised” (178). Earlier in this paper, it was implied that television plays the capitalist system’s game – both politically and economically. It is this system that it seeks to reproduce. Skornia writes that, in a totalitarian rather than democratic exercise, “Mass media [...] may cease to be instruments of communication and become instruments of social control” (145). In short, I understand television as a controller of symbolic power.




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      According to my views, television is an example of Bourdieu’s orthodoxy. It has the power to reproduce the system. This power is reflected in a series of efforts to defend the doxa. For example, television is a source of values. But, what type of values? As Skornia says, “If television can be said to have any values at all, it is those of the salesmen, big businessmen, manufactures, and showmen who control it – essentially materialistic values” (151). I take the view that the values that are subject to transmission are those values that the entities with both economic and symbolic capital want to be transferred so that the system can continue. Traditionally, family was a source of values to be passed on to new generations. In our time, I feel that family does not play that role in the same manner. As Adler and Cater state, “The family [...] has less hold on children and is less effective in transferring positive values. Television, on the other hand, has become the new and forceful purveyor of moral values” (113). To this, Skornia adds that “The role of the family [...] has greatly changed from pre-television days”, and that the time families used to spend together is now devoted to watching television (149). I insist on the idea that most of us do not realize that this is so, though.



The Simpsons as a sitcom


      I have talked about the role of television and explained those Bourdieuian concepts that I needed to expand my ideas. I have then connected both issues. There is just one more task for me to do: to explain what I refer to as the paradox of The Simpsons. But before I proceed to that last objective, let me characterize this show as a sitcom and define what type of sitcom.

      The Simpson family lives in the community of Springfield. It is composed of five members, including Homer, who rarely gives good advice or does the respectable thing; Marge; 10 year-old Bart; 8 year-old Lisa, a smart child who loves to play her saxophone; and Maggie, the baby of the family. As Glynn (61) reminds us, The Simpsons premiered as a weekly prime-time show in January 1990 and, almost instantly, became popular among a wide range of viewers. Homer, Marge, and their three children Bart, Lisa, and Maggie became multimedia superstars.

      This series can be classed as a sitcom. However, sitcoms may vary in nature, so it becomes necessary to determine to what type The Simpsons belong. Traditional family sitcoms, Henry claims, created the myth of the happy family. They illustrated a patriarchal middle-class family wherein the father was portrayed as a superior, more knowledgeable and correct than his wife and children. This type of sitcom, the author argues, dominated the scene in the 1950s and 1960s. The 1970s witnessed the emergence and success of a different type of sitcom known as working-class sitcom. In the 1980s, however, there was a shift back towards traditional middle-class family sitcom, a transit that accorded the conservative Reagan years. In the 1990s, working-class family sitcom returned. The main difference between traditional sitcom and working-class sitcom is that, while the former showed a disassociation from the real world, the latter incorporates real-world problems into the story (88-89). We shall see what the first decades of the 21st century bring us.




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    The Simpsons, although still using the traditional nuclear family construct (Henry 89), deconstructs the myth of the happy family (Henry 92) and belongs to the working-class sitcom type or, as Henry puts it, to the blue-collar sitcom type (87). As Henry (87-88) writes, working class sitcom makes it possible to identify with characters who seem more real and whose lives are closer to the lives of the viewers because it represents more accurately the realities of contemporary life. I hold that that is a feature that – even though the show is an animated cartoon – promotes doxa.

 


The paradox of The Simpsons: Orthodoxy vs. Heterodoxy


      I shall now elaborate on the paradox I have mentioned several times throughout this paper. To do so, I will allude to the voice of several authors and professionals whose opinions I will take as my starting point from which to explain that paradox. I will also provide some examples to illustrate my line of reasoning.

      The Simpsons constitutes a peculiar – although not unique – case. As Henry remarks, the show is a satire whose main purpose is to critique American society (92). This satire, the author states, is most effective because it is rooted in present-day realities (96), an idea I partly contemplated in the previous section.

      A superficial analysis of The Simpsons would probably bring to the fore many elements that can lead to the conclusion that the series attacks the American political, economic, and social system by critiquing and questioning it. As Neumann suggests, The Simpsons encourages such qualities as immorality, aggression, and disrespect for authority. According to the author, fiction bears social consequences, and there is fiction that encourages “disrespect for socially accepted or politically legitimated authority” (25). The question is to which “socially accepted or politically legitimated authority” she refers. I believe that it is reasonably safe to assume that she refers to the mainstream’s instances of power and to the democratic and capitalist American system.

      An example of this apparent disrespect for the establishment can be found in the episode “Two Bad Neighbors”. Former president of the U.S. George Bush and his wife Barbara move in to the house across the street from the Simpsons’. The relationship between George and Homer turns out to be a disaster, and the two end up involved in a fistfight. A further example is found in the episode “Duffless”. Here, Homer is pulled over by the police because they have reasons to believe he has been drinking alcohol. Police officers are depicted as dumb, and seem convinced that Homer is not under the influence of alcohol simply because he manages to sing a kid’s song.

      Another reason for this presumed heterodoxy of The Simpsons is that, as Neumann claims, it is the only American show to mock the Christian church – Ned Flanders’ character illustrates this point – and remain unpunished Endnote4 . The Simpsons also manages to belittle “some sacred cows of political correctness” (Neumann 28). The figure of Bart, she argues, embodies a parody of “many of the notions of propriety used to regulate youthful behavior in our society and offers a satirical critique of adult authority” (62). In addition, Bart’s figure also parodies and critiques white authority and its educational system (Neumann 64). In brief, Bart’s character stands for the epitome of the child from a dysfunctional family.




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      In “Two Bad Neighbors”, Bart calls George Bush by his first name. Bush reacts to this and says to Bart that, in his day, little boys did not call the elders by their first name. Bart’s reaction is to welcome Bush to the 20th century and call him George again. Another example of Bart’s rebel personality can be found in “Duffless”. Bart cannot help throwing a big tomato at his school principal’s butt, which provokes laughter from his peers.

      Other instances of social satire can be detected in these two episodes. For example, the flea-market tradition is ridiculed in “Two Bad Neighbors”. In “Duffless”, a dialogue between Bart and Lisa comes to the conclusion that professional athletes use anabolic steroids to reach excellence. In this same episode, Marge asks Homer if he ever drinks alone, to which Homer replies whether the Lord counts as a person.

      It would be possible to resort to other episodes and to offer an extensive list of similar examples of satiric criticism. However, that list would only scratch the surface. A deeper analysis of the series can lead to different conclusions. I agree with Henry in his claim that “sitcom is a corporate product”, and that “It is a vehicle for bringing consumers to advertisers in the marketplace” (89). Henry also writes, “The Simpsons is involved in the production of every ‘culture’ it satirizes: it is at once a hilarious situation comedy, a biting social commentary, and a monumental merchandising phenomenon” (86). The Simpsons therefore seems to play an ambiguous game. It is “simultaneously complicitous in and critical of its role in the production of popular culture” (Henry 91). These are, in my opinion, apt statements. For example, in “Bart vs. Thanksgiving”, Homer and his son are watching the popular Thanksgiving parade on television. Bart complains that the cartoon characters that the giant balloons represent are rather old-fashioned. His father replies that if they built a balloon for every fashionable cartoon character, the parade would turn into a farce. Just at that moment, we can see a balloon of Bart on the screen.

      Behind The Simpsons pretense of social satire, there is an immense business functioning in the capitalist system. As Kippen points out, “animation is now precious territory, where a junior story editor can make more than $100,000 a year”. The show is, according to Kippen, “a modern commercial success” with “pressure to earn laughs”, and whose characters have become stars (66). The commercial success of the series is undeniable.

      The control of the characters is, Kippen suggests, in the writers’ hands (66). Writers’ hearts are, according to Neumann, “in the politically-correct, multicultural place”. She elaborates, “the poor working stiffs, the worryingly disaffected white males [...] seem most susceptible to the racist, nationalist and anti-government paranoias”. She continues, “Nevertheless, Homer largely avoids [those] paranoias [...] partly because The Simpsons’ writers want him to”. Marge Simpson is also significant to this point because she “models a more cohesive society” (Neumann 28). She embodies the figure of the devoted wife and mother who tries to make peace prevail at home.

    The Simpsons’ executive producer Mike Scully says, “We try to go against the tide,” and “we don’t apologize; we try to offend everyone, but not in a mean-spirited way” (qtd. in Kippen 67). He also claims that one of the characteristics needed to write for The Simpsons is to hold “a healthy disrespect for everything this country holds dear”, although he also recognizes that “finding the right satirical edge” is important (qtd. in Kippen 68). Apparently, The Simpsons seems to be a show that takes efforts to challenge the doxa; in this view, the show could be seen as an instance of heterodoxy. However, words such as “politically correct”, “cohesive society”, “not in a mean-spirited way”, “a healthy disrespect”, or “the right satirical edge” suggest a quite different reality. We can question each and every one of these statements and see for what they stand. Politically correct according to whom? What kind of society is intended to be cohesive? According to what values is a spirit mean or not? How can disrespect be healthy? Who decides what the right satirical edge is?




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    The answers to these questions all seem to lead toward the same reality: The Simpsons teeters precariously between that which it mocks and reproduces at the same time. The authority that the show critiques is the one that decides what is politically correct or incorrect. It is the social system the series mocks the one that judges what is mean or disrespectful and that establishes where the satirical edge is.

    Corporate capitalism is also attacked. For example, in “Beyond Blunderdome” we see how three executives run over a well-known Hollywood star. When one of them discovers that the body is in fact a dummy and says “Wait a minute. He’s just a dummy!”, other executive replies “I know, but he sells tickets”. However, the capitalist system the series criticizes is the one that makes it possible for the show to be such a tremendously lucrative business. The Simpsons is a merchandising phenomenon that offers consumers a huge amount of items such as T-shirts, posters, hats, mugs, and so on. It is a highly profitable business that follows the rules of the capitalist system to succeed and increase profits. The series competes to be the best and to attract the maximum audience possible not only in the U.S., but also in many other countries in which it has been a success as well. The Simpsons, just as the capitalist system, goes global. Again, the duality of the show is present, since it reproduces the economic system it critiques.

    All these are aspects that, once considered in unison and from a broad perspective, convince me of the existence of the paradox of The Simpsons, which in short can be said to be that the system the show satirizes is the same system it reproduces.

 


Closing Remarks


    Television exerts a great influence not only in the U.S., but also in many different societies around the world. This capability and the fact that mainstream television is controlled by a relatively small number of people or corporations make television a powerful instrument to control society.

    This influence and power can be analyzed according to Bourdieu’s model of reproduction of power. Those people or entities controlling television use it to reproduce the system that allows them to control power.

    Even The Simpsons, a television show that a priori seems to attack the system in what could constitute an instance of Bourdieu’s heterodoxy, can be recognized as promoting the reproduction process since, apart from its content, every aspect surrounding the show – such as merchandising or competitiveness – suggests orthodoxic efforts at work.

    As I stated at the beginning of this paper, my purpose was to raise a few questions and to promote some critical thinking rather than to conduct a thorough analysis of the topics at issue. My intention was to apply some Bourdieu’s notions to deal with today’s role of television in American society, a goal that – within the limited scope of this paper – I think I have accomplished. Besides, I wanted to test the hypothesis that The Simpsons embodies the idea of the reproduction of systems, a premise I believe I have demonstrated.




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Questions for Future Research


    Hopefully, the contents of this piece of writing are to be taken as an initial reflection from which to develop or increase future research. There are many questions that have not been addressed because they were beyond the scope of this paper. For instance, it could be of interest to elaborate on some of the postmodernist characteristics of The Simpsons that Henry mentions in his work, such as its intertextual nature or its self-consciousness.

    Another question – though wide – that could be posed is what portion of the population is most subject to be influenced by television. It could also be relevant to try to identify different groups according to different degrees of exposure to television, as well as to consider what their social and economic characteristics are, so that general language such as people or viewers could be replaced by more precise terminology.

    It could also be worthwhile – though wide, too – to analyze the influence American television’s shows – starting with The Simpsons, for instance – may have on other countries and therefore on other societies. In the same way, the influence that television – in its most general meaning – may exert on other cultures in other countries could also constitute a promising study.

    As I have made explicit throughout the paper, I have consciously limited my application of Bourdieu’s model to several categories. Other concepts such as sincerity or connivance could be useful in explaining the satire.

    My last suggestion for future research would be to explore in-depth the real effects The Simpsons may have on society, and to what extent the heterodoxic aspects of The Simpsons transcend the realm of television. It would also be note-worthy to study how the fact that the show is a cartoon affects the nature of its perceived credibility.






NOTES


1 Since it is sufficient to my purposes and to this paper’s scope, I will use the words people and viewers in the same generic way Cheney does.

2 Note that I use the term variety, not totality.

3 It is beyond the scope of this paper to define what the true image might be.

4 I am not so sure about The Simpsons being the only show that does it.

[Press "Back" to return to text from these endnotes.]



Works Cited

 

Adler, Richard, and Cater, Douglass, eds. Television as a Cultural Force: New Approaches to TV criticism. New York: Praeger, 1976.

Bourdieu, Pierre. “Outline of a Theory of Practice.” Trans. Richard Nice. Cambridge: Cambridge U.P., 1977.

– – – “Questions de sociologie.” Paris: Minuit, 1984. English quotes taken from Toril Moi “Appropriating Bourdieu: Feminist Theory and Pierre Bourdieu’s Sociology of Culture.” New Literary History 22 (1991): 1017-1049.

– – – and Jean-Claud Passeron. “Foundations of a Theory of Symbolic Violence.” Reproduction in Education, Society and Culture. Trans. Richard Nice. London: Sage, 1977.

Cheney, Glenn Alan. Television in American Society. New York: F. Watts, 1983.




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Glynn, Kevin. “Bartmania: The Social Reception of an Unruly Image.” Camera Obscura: A Journal of Feminism, Culture, and Media Studies 38 (1996): 61-90.

Groening, Matt. “Bart vs. Thanksgiving.” The Simpsons. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, Inc., 1990.

– – – “Beyond Blunderdome.” The Simpsons. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, Inc., 1999.

– – – “Duffless.” The Simpsons. Political Party. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, Inc., 2000.

– – – “Two Bad Neighbors.” The Simpsons. Political Party. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, Inc., 2000.

Henry, Matthew. “The Triumph of Popular Culture: Situation Comedy, Postmodernism and The Simpsons.” Studies in Popular Culture 1 (1994): 85-99.

Kaminski, Stuart M. American Television Genres. Chicago: Nelson Hall, 1985.

Kippen, Alexander. “Writing for The Simpsons.” Creative Screenwriting 6 (1999): 66-68.

Mahar, Cheleen, Richard Harker, and Chris Wilkes. “The Basic Theoretical Position.” Chapter 1 of Harker, Richard, Cheleen Mahar, and Chris Wilkes, eds. An Introduction to the Work of Pierre Bourdieu. New York: St. Martins, 1990.

Moi, Toril. “Appropriating Bourdieu: Feminist Theory and Pierre Bourdieu’s Sociology of Culture.” New Literary History 22 (1991): 1017-49.

Neumann, Anne Waldron. “The Simpsons.” Quadrant 12 (1996): 25-29.

Samovar, Larry A., and Richard E. Porter, eds. Intercultural Communication. New York: Wadsworth, 1997.

Skornia, Harry J. Television and Society. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1965.










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