‘The role of lifestyle television in transforming culture, citizenship and selfhood: China, Taiwan, Singapore and India’.

Funded by the Australian Research Council 2010-2013: DP1094355

How can we understand the recent appearance of an Indian version of MasterChef, home renovation shows like 交换空间 (Swap Places) in China, personal makeover shows like Style Doctors in Singapore, and beauty and fashion advice TV like 女人我最大 (Queen) in Taiwan? This research project sees lifestyle advice programming as a barometer of broader cultural changes currently transforming social life in Asia. In such programs, entertainment media addresses itself in a uniquely direct way to the everyday practice of ordinary social life: these programs are etiquette manuals for the 21st century. We are interested in what the rise of such programming can tell us about broader shifts in contemporary Asian societies in relation to identity, culture and citizenship.



Telemodernities: Television and Transforming Lives in Asia now available

Telemodernities: Television and Transforming Lives in Asia is now available. You can read more about the book at the Duke website or read the introduction at Scribd.

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Forthcoming book: Telemodernities: Television and Transforming Lives in Asia

Tania Lewis, Fran Martin and Wanning Sun Telemodernities: Television and Transforming Lives in Asia (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, forthcoming 2016).


Yoga gurus on wellbeing-and-lifestyle cable channels targeting time pressured Indian urbanites; Chinese dating and makeover shows promoting competitive individualism; Taiwanese home makeover formats combining feng shui with life planning advice: Asian TV screens are increasingly populated by a wild proliferation of popular factual programmes aimed at providing lifestyle guidance to viewers, particularly the emergent consumer middle classes.

Telemodernities analyses the complex social and cultural significance of lifestyle programming in a region undergoing dramatic social, cultural, political and economic upheaval. More than just another TV genre, this book demonstrates how lifestyle-oriented popular factual shows illuminate key aspects of late modernities in South and East Asia, offering a window not only into early 21st century media cultures but also into broader shifts in the nature of public and private life, identity, citizenship and social engagement today.

Analysing a wide range of reality, lifestyle and popular factual shows from Taiwanese fashion-and-beauty variety formats to Chinese home makeover programs to Indian reality-lifestyle TV, and drawing on extensive interviews with TV industry professionals and audiences across China, India, Taiwan and Singapore, Telemodernities uses popular lifestyle television as a window onto emergent forms of identity, sociality and capitalist modernity in Asia.

Table of contents

  1. Introduction: Telemodernities
  2. Lifestyle Television in Context: Media Industries, Cultural Economies, Genre Flows
  3. Local Versus Metropolitan Television in China: Stratification of Needs, Taste and Spatial Imagination
  4. Here, There and Everywhere: Mediascapes, Geographic Imaginaries and Indian Television
  5. Imagining Global Mobility: TLC Taiwan
  6. Gurus, Babas and Daren: Popular Experts on Chinese and Indian Advice TV
  7. Magical Modernities: Spiritual Advice TV in India and Taiwan
  8. Risky Romance: Navigating Late Modern Identities and Relationships on Chinese and Indian Lifestyle TV
  9. A Self to Believe In: Negotiating Femininities in Sinophone Lifestyle Advice TV
  10. Conclusion: Negotiating Modernities through Lifestyle Television

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Forthcoming edited collection: Lifestyle Media in Asia

Fran Martin and Tania Lewis (eds). Lifestyle Media in Asia: Consumption, Aspiration and Identity (Routledge: 2016, Oxford UK).

About the book

Across Asia, consumer culture is increasingly shaping everyday life, with neoliberal economic and social policies increasingly adopted by governments who see their citizens as individualised, sovereign consumers with choices about their lifestyles and identities. One aspect of this development has been the emergence of new wealthy middle classes with lifestyle aspirations shaped by national, regional and global media – especially by a range of new popular lifestyle media, which includes magazines, television and mobile and social media. This book explores how far everyday conceptions and experiences of identity are being transformed by media cultures across the region. It considers a range of different media in different Asian contexts, contrasting how the shaping of lifestyles in Asia differs from similar processes in Western countries, and assessing how the new lifestyle media represents not just a new emergent media culture, but also illustrates wider cultural and social changes in the Asian region.

Table of contents:

  1. Preface: Rethinking Consumption in Economic Recessionary East Asia, Chua Beng Huat
  2. Introduction: Media, Consumption and Asian Modernities, Fran Martin and Tania Lewis
  3. Neoliberal Capitalism and Media Representation in Korean Television Series: Subversion and Sustainability, Sun Jung
  4. Home, Aesthetic Authority and Class Identity in the Shadow of Neoliberal Modernity: The Cultural Politics of China’s Exchanging Spaces, Wu Jing
  5. Biocitizenship from Above and Below: Health Cultivation and Life Nurturance through Media in China, Wanning Sun
  6. The Pink Ribbon Campaign in a Chinese Fashion Magazine: Celebrity, Health Experts and Lifestyle, Yue Gao
  7. Empresses in the Palace and the Production of Working Subjects in Taiwan, Fang-chih Irene Yang
  8. Media Cosmopolitanism and Modernity: Asian Women in Transnational Flows, Youna Kim
  9. Differential (Im)mobilities: Imaginative Transnationalism in Taiwanese Women’s Travel TV, Fran Martin
  10. Locating Mobile Lifestyles: Cross-Generational Locative Media in Tokyo, Fumitoshi Kato, Kana Ohashi, Larissa Hjorth and Heather Horst
  11. Dishing up Diversity? Class, Aspirationalism and Indian Food Television, Tania Lewis
  12. Islam’s got Talent: Lifestyle Television and the Muslim Social Imaginary, Bart Barenregt and Chris Hudson

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Special Issue is Now Out

Our special co-edited issue of Media International Australia on “Lifestyle Media and Social Transformation in Asia” is now out!


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A special issue of Media International Australia (May 2013) co-edited by Tania Lewis (RMIT), Fran Martin (University of Melbourne) and John Sinclair (University of Melbourne)

If there is one trend that could be said to characterise Asian late modernities, it is the shared experience of hyper-accelerated social, cultural and economic transformation. Consumer culture is playing an increasing role in countries once dominated by socialism…