Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2011

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Communication Studies

First Advisor

Havens, Timothy

First Committee Member

McLeod, Kembrew

Second Committee Member

Hingstman, David

Third Committee Member

Waters Freyer, Sasha

Fourth Committee Member

Goodnight, Gerald T


This dissertation poses that the digital transition is best understood as simultaneously a technological and cultural phenomena. As a physical change in the means of distribution, transmission, and reception of media content, the digital transition is an important factor in changing technological, aesthetic, and legal norms. As a cultural form, the digital is positioned as a moderator between continuity and discontinuity. Through a reading strategy inspired by Walter Benjamin this dissertation reads the physical and cultural implications of the digital transition in television in the United States through political categories. The chapters are case studies in the adoption of digital televisions for home use, digital television production technologies, digital transmission technologies, and digital distribution systems. Each case study examines the tenuous production of publics in the context of the dialectical pressures of the digital. By taking this approach I intend to contribute to the rhetorical dimension of television studies, the digital turn in rhetorical and public sphere studies, and the legal and aesthetic dimensions of production studies. The dialectical approach to the digital allows the study of television to theorize the trajectory of emerging media and the political implications of that movement.


Broadcast, Cable, Digital, Digital Transition, Public Sphere, Television


v, 263 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 246-163).


Copyright 2011 Daniel Conover Faltesek

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Communication Commons