Soap Operas Worldwide

Cultural and Serial Realities

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About the Book

While the American soap opera is known primarily for its marketing value, producers, health professionals, politicians, and rebels elsewhere focus on the serials’ potential for social change: African, Indian and South American serials offer information on family planning, child protection and AIDS; a Mexican telenovela parallels a government murder scandal—the program is so popular the state dare not censor it. In Russia, South American novelas are so popular that Boris Yeltsin manipulates programming to affect voters on polling day.
Here is an examination of the economic and social impact of the soap opera, with projections for the future. A chapter for each of the nine regions of the world offers demographic statistics of major countries’ audiences, radio and television usage, stations available, and synopses of the most popular serials.

About the Author(s)

Marilyn J. Matelski is a professor of communication at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.

Bibliographic Details

Marilyn J. Matelski
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 231
Bibliographic Info: surveys, statistics, appendices, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012 [1999]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7280-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Introduction 1
1. The Soap Opera/Telenovela Genre—A Brief History 15
• The Development of Soap Operas in the United States 15
• Cultural Studies and the British Soap Opera 24
• Serial Drama in Australia—From “Down Under” to “On Top” 25
• The Latin American Telenovela and Its Migration 26
2. North America 35
• Overview of Cultural Patterns and Audience Trends 39
• Focus: United States 40
• American Soaps Abroad 46
• Americans and the Telenovela 47
3. Central America and the Caribbean 53
• Overview of Cultural Patterns and Audience Trends 59
• Focus: Dominica 59
• Focus: Jamaica 60
• Focus: Cuba 61
• Focus: Puerto Rico 62
• Focus: Mexico 64
4. South America 71
• Overview of Cultural Patterns and Audience Trends 76
• Focus: Chile 78
• Focus: Brazil 79
• Focus: Colombia 84
• Focus: Argentina 86
• Focus: Venezuela 87
5. Europe 93
• Overview of Cultural Patterns and Audience Trends 101
• Focus: United Kingdom 102
• Focus: Ireland 105
• Focus: The Netherlands 105
• Focus: Spain 106
• Focus: Sweden 107
• Focus: Germany (Federal Republic) 109
• Focus: Russia 109
• Focus: Poland 114
6. Asia 119
• Overview of Cultural Patterns and Audience Trends 124
• Focus: Kazakhstan 125
• Focus: Japan 126
• Focus: Hong Kong 129
• Focus: China 130
• Focus: India 133
• Focus: Thailand 136
• Focus: Philippines 138
7. Africa 143
• Overview of Cultural Patterns and Audience Trends 150
• Focus: South Africa 152
• Focus: Kenya 153
• Focus: Côte d’Ivoire 154
• Focus: Niger 155
• Focus: Mauritius 157
• Focus: Tanzania 157
8. Near and Middle East 161
• Overview of Cultural Patterns and Audience Trends 166
• Focus: Cyprus 166
• Focus: Israel 167
9. Pacific 171
• Overview of Cultural Patterns and Audience Trends 175
• Focus: Australia 175
• Focus: New Zealand 178
• Focus: Papua New Guinea 179
10. The Future—Soap Operas, Satellites and the Internet 183
Appendix A. Sample Soap Operas/Telenovelas 191
Appendix B. A Partial List of Current and Past Soap Operas/ Telenovelas (with Country of Origin) 205
Bibliography 211
Index 217

Book Reviews & Awards

“there is no book like this one…this valuable reference will be useful as a guidebook and as a source of an enormous amount of data. All academic collections”—Choice.