By Geraldine Harris
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Extra resources for Beyond Representation: Television Drama and the Politics and Aesthetics of Identity
As part of this, he distinguishes between different sorts of realisms and naturalisms and between different sorts of postmodernisms circulating within contemporary television drama (4). In terms of naturalism, he repeats Caughie’s association between this form and the documentary look but points to how this can operate on a continuum between ‘photographic’ and ‘critical naturalism’ (112). As such, he touches on but does not pursue the way that, in the last decades of the twentieth century, ‘hybrid’ fact/fiction forms like documentary drama have become increasingly common and popular.
Alternatively, it could be argued that this style again simply represents a manner of delivering the ‘external appearance of reality’ but operating now as part of a postmodern aesthetic. Nelson also picks out three main categories of realism, fantasy, formulaic and critical realism, while acknowledging that in practice the distinctions between these categories are often blurred and that the conventions for realism are unstable and open to change (112–21). While his defining of these categories starts with the concepts of ‘mimetic’ and ‘referential’ realism, as his argument unfolds it roughly embraces the various registers that Chris Barker notes in his ethnographic research carried out amongst British Asian teenage viewers of soap opera.
All of this raises the question as to what, or rather whom, he might mean exactly when he uses the term ‘human’. qxd 20/7/06 11:35 AM Page 29 Phil's G4 Phil's G4:Users:phil:Public Beyond realism? 29 Diane Elam does in Feminism and Deconstruction. However, as Elam’s title suggests, she achieves this positively through the politics of feminism. She also acknowledges the problem of taking up ‘oppositional’ political positions such as feminism, which, based as it is on a sexed/gendered identification, remains within the system of binary hierarchical thought that has historically determined the limits of human subjectivity.