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9780044452850 This study of the American television situation comedy combines historical analysis (beginning with the emergence of television and the development of the "sitcom") with interpretation and criticism. The book is one of a series which concentrates on studies devoted to various forms of contemporary culture with emphasis on media texts, audiences, and institutions, aiming to create a fruitful dialogue between recent strains of feminist, semiotic and marxist culutral study and older forms of humanistic and soical-scientific scholarship. Communication is conceived as a complex, ritualized experience in which meaning or significance is constituted by an intricate, contested collaboration among institutional, ideological and cultural forces.