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In devoting a conference to the cultural impact of ‘the coming of the mass media in postwar France’, we were of course aware that the mass media had been coming a long time before that. A full history of the press, cinema, radio and music industries would take one well back through the twentieth century, and even in some of these cases into the nineteenth as well. It is not, however, the aim of this volume to trace the historical background of postwar developments further back than the interwar period. What is more, it was intended that contributors should address themselves to a range of cultural issues relating particularly to the mass media in France after the Second World War. Some of the contributors focus on the details of how the institutions and industries of the media were set up and organised at the time of the Liberation and in the subsequent period (Jeancolas on the cinema; Eck, Méadel and Bourdon on radio and television; Hewitt on the press). Other contributors focus on new popular genres across different cultural forms (Forbes on the ‘Série noire’ Ory on science fiction), while other contributors stress the changing ways in which the postwar popular culture of cinema and songs was presented to, and ‘consumed’ by, the public (Sorlin on popular cinema and habits of cinema-going; Calvet on the changing ‘sites’ and evolving technologies of the popular song). A final group of contributors emphasise the broader ideological, intellectual, cultural and moral contexts within which the development of the mass media and the emergence of new popular cultural forms need to be set.
KeywordsMass Medium Popular Culture Science Fiction Cultural Form Music Industry
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