Cultural Mediators Seduced by Mad Men: How cultural journalists legitimized a quality TV series in the Nordic Region

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Nete Nørgaard Kristensen, Heikki Hellman, Kristina Riegert

Based on theories about the role of cultural mediators in cultural production and using the TV series Mad Men as a case, this article investigates how cultural journalists in the Nordic countries have contributed to legitimizing “quality TV series” as a worthy field of aesthetic consumption. Key analytical points are as follows: (1) cultural journalists legitimize Mad Men’s quality by addressing aspects internal (aesthetic markers) and aspects external (culture industry markers) to the series, as well as the series’ broader social and historical anchoring; (2) Nordic cultural journalists position themselves positively toward the TV series based on their professional expertise and their personal taste preferences and predilections; (3) these legitimation processes take place across journalistic genres, pointing to the importance not only of TV criticism, epitomized by the review, but of cultural journalism more broadly in constructing affirmative attitudes toward popular culture phenomena such as TV series.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTelevision & New Media
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)257– 274
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019

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