Who’s the Boss?: A Comparative Analysis of Authority Figure Representations in Popular TV Sitcoms, 1991–92 vs. 2011–12

The diversity of today’s family structure and the intensifying consumption of television has amplified the importance of recognizing how media portray authority figures and their communication with adolescents. This study illustrates how authority figures are framed through a comparative textual analysis of popular TV sitcoms. Results indicate that the interaction between adolescents and authority figures has evolved. Twenty years ago, the division of authority was quite clear, whereas current programming reveals relationships that are more complicated and often depict authority figures more as friends.

New Media Learning Practices among Higher Education Students in Ghana

New media technologies usage is very prevalent among students enrolled in higher education in Ghana. Its use can help in fostering knowledge acquisition if students use them for academic purposes. The study aimed, through the survey method, to establish how university undergraduate students were using new media technologies and whether learning had any share in all of that. The sample was taken from across the undergraduate student population of the University of Professional Studies, Accra making sure there was representation from all four undergraduate levels. Findings pointed to the fact that smartphones, laptops and tablet computers (in that order) were the three top new media devices to which respondents had access and owned. The laptop was the number one new media device used for studies. Also, the internet came out as the main channel through which respondents accessed information for studying, apart from the lecture room. The study recommends that universities could take advantage of the popular use of smartphones, laptops, and tablets to develop academic apps in the form of departmental apps, programs of study apps and course apps which students will download on their phones for study purposes.

From a Western Phenomenon to a Global Phenomenon

This article examines the globalization of reality television by comparing popular reality shows in the United States and China. This research attempts to transcend common debates concerning globalization (i.e., cultural homogenization and glocalization) by emphasizing what exists on the margins of these arguments. The author instead focuses attention on the micro-level consequences of the globalization of popular culture—the potential anxieties and insecurities facing Chinese and American citizens. The author reviews foundational studies of globalization that pinpoint these anxieties to the increasing disconnect between what people want and state power. Using Schudson’s theory of popular culture the author proposes that the reality television content that is popular in these two locales indicate viewer’s primary sources of anxiety but also works to remedy these anxieties in accordance with the values and goals of the nation state. The findings of this article are based on a theoretical explanation of what is culturally resonant in each nation and even politically necessary. The author calls for future research to critically engage with both the production of reality television and audience research on the genre as a means to more clearly understand its presence in the political sphere. Overall, this article adds to the literature by exploring the transaction between reality television, politics, and globalization.