With specific reference to television daytime talk shows and advertisements, this essay considers the extent that pop culture shapes a common culture; the essay also considers the ways and extent that contemporary art continues to influence cultural paradigms.
Theorists argue that one of the most notable means that television contributes to common culture is by helping shape identity and standards of ‘normality’. In formulating a unique interpretive approach to the representation of ‘normality’ daytime talk shows Woods (2007) advances an analytic methodology based on Bahktin’s theory that “entails understanding the communicative relationship of viewers with the particular programmes as specific (mediated) ‘speech genres’” (as cited in Wood 2007, p. 5).” One strand of Wood’s investigation reveals that viewers who watch television talk shows add their own commentary both at home and in the studio. Responding with “mhm” or “yes” are examples of the viewer engaging in collaborative creation of cultural meaning. Other means television contributes to a common culture in the context of daytime talk shows include what Woods terms ‘adjacency pairs’. These are elements of speech interaction where a member in the studio will pose a question, oftentimes rhetorical, and the viewer at home will answer. In addition to adjacency pairs, Woods research formulates a number of elements of this construction of common culture that include turn-taking, and secondary textual interrogation, where the viewer offers their own expert analysis. In addition to these elements there exists a tertiary understanding of the text. In these instances the viewer can be said to be inspired by the studio discussion to formulate a divergent response. The response is not entirely related to the studio discussion, but builds off of it in interrogating other instances of common culture.
When constructing identity in contemporary discourse theorists have